The defence of Elon Musk has been an odd one. First, his lawyers claimed that Musk shouldn’t be taken seriously, and now they’re claiming that the term ‘pedo guy’ is a fun throwback to his youth.
Elon Musk has quickly morphed from a heralded man of vision and money to a garden variety Twitter troll. Here, we have proof. You could argue that the internet version of Elon reached its nadir when we derided Vernon Unsworth, the diver that orchestrated that rescue of a Thai soccer team as a ”pedo guy.”
A Los Angeles court will decide tomorrow whether to go ahead with a defamation case against Mr Musk, brought by British caver Vernon Unsworth, who played a key role in last year’s Thai cave rescue operation. Here’s the kicker. An academic in South Africa believes that the term used by Elon is one in common usage in the country, and therefore fine.
“Mr Musk testified that ‘pedo guy’ was a common insult used in South Africa during his youth,” wrote Mr Musk’s attorneys, in court documents. The diver in question is seeking $110,000 in damages.
Musk’s defence has changed somewhat, as his lawyers attempted to get the case thrown out on the grounds that their client should not be taken seriously. Elon’s lawyers claimed that in order for the case to progress, they’re claiming that Musk must produce the evidence that goes along with his comment, vis evidence of Unsworth actually being a paedophile.
I’m not disparaging the world of law, or Elon Musk, or those noble folks that practice the noble art, but if this is what you’re spending the finite amount of time you’re afforded on this planet, well.
Musk’s team also claims that it’s also a further grade of all good, as Unsworth apparently started it, claiming that it was merely “a war of words”, and certainly not defamation, because one has nothing to do with the other. I mean, yes, defamation can be defined as: “a false and defamatory statement concerning the plaintiff,” but, yeah, different.
They go further, claiming that Twitter, in particular, is a place where people just say whatever they want, in order to experience “emotional catharsis.”
In their world, Tweets mean nothing, no-one believes the posts, and thusly, no harm can come from them, and leaning into the “Sticks v Stones” statute of 5,600,000 BCE, we’re all good. “…courts have consistently held imaginative insults—no matter how repugnant—are non-actionable as long as a reasonable reader would not believe them to be backed by objective fact,” the motion illustrates.
I mean, yeah. We have a Presidency entirely kept on Twitter, but that doesn’t mean that harm cannot be gleaned from that nonsense, nor can the thousandfold requests of violence, or suicide or the other heinous scales that make up the skin of shitposting, acid-spitting blind dragon that is Twitter, but what the hey. Don’t take it seriously.
Whether this case is thrown out or not, is important. What if we get the Elon precedent? The man most propped up by the “it’s not hate, it’s free speech” crowd will be a billionaire with an eye for renewables and a propensity to fire from the hip, because it means nothing, and the courts have officially backed me, you pedo.