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Elon Musk renews attacks on British cave diver he once called 'pedo'

The Tesla and SpaceX CEO asked whether the absence of a lawsuit from the diver wasn’t “strange” and questioned if another user had investigated fully.
by David Ingram /
Elon Musk speaks at the 68th International Astronautical Congress in Adelaide on Sept. 29, 2017Peter Parks / AFP - Getty Images file
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Billionaire tech executive Elon Musk has revived his internet tirade against a British cave explorer, weeks after Musk apologized for calling the man a "pedo."

Musk, chief executive of automaker Tesla and rocket company SpaceX, said on Twitter on Tuesday that the diver hadn’t sued him over the slur that Musk used in July — and asked whether the absence of a lawsuit wasn't "strange."

He went on to use his Twitter account — with 22 million followers — to ask whether another Twitter user (@yoda) had investigated the man, although Musk himself has provided no evidence to support his accusation.

Musk did not elaborate on why he was attacking the diver again after his July 18 apology. Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Musk’s offhand comments on Twitter have at times rattled investors and increased concerns about his ability to lead his companies without distraction. Musk on Friday abandoned a plan to take Tesla private, an idea he had first floated publicly on Twitter.

The diver, Vern Unsworth, who helped to rescue a youth soccer team from a Thai cave, initially drew Musk’s ire for criticizing a mini-submarine that Musk and his engineers built to try to help with the operation.

The 12 boys and their 25-year-old coach became trapped June 23 when a flash flood blocked their cave entrance. They were rescued the next month.

Cave divers Robert Harper, left, and Vern Unsworth approach number 10 ahead of a reception with the British Prime Minister Theresa May at Downing Street on July 24, 2018 in London.Leon Neal / Getty Images file

Unsworth said in July that he was "astonished and very angry" at Musk’s accusation and that he was considering legal action. He could not immediately be reached for comment Tuesday.

Musk had offered a qualified apology to Unsworth days after his initial accusation, writing, on Twitter again, that "my words were spoken in anger" in response to "several untruths."

"Nonetheless," Musk wrote last month, "his actions against me do not justify my actions against him, and for that I apologize to Mr. Unsworth and to the companies I represent as leader."

By Tuesday, Musk’s tone had changed.

"You don’t think it’s strange he hasn’t sued me? He was offered free legal services," Musk wrote.

Musk may be fighting distraction on another front. This week he is expected to skip the 70,000-person desert festival known as Burning Man, after going every year for nine years, the New York Post reported on Monday.

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