Elon Musk argues comments on Twitter are protected speech in request to dismiss ‘pedo guy’ lawsuit



Elon Musk has filed a motion to dismiss a defamation lawsuit filed against him by the British military rescuer who defeated the billionaire entrepreneur for calling him a pedophile.

Musk’s motion presents numerous reasons to discount the defamation lawsuit, all of which come back to a two main points: Twitter is “notorious for invective and hyperbole,” and therefore should not be considered reality and such “creative attacks,” even if offensive, “are by their nature opinion and protected by the First Amendment. ” 

Musk’s lawyers ask one query in the petition: “Accepting Unsworth’s well-pleaded allegations as true, could a fair reader believe that Musk’s statements were supported with objective facts or were instead “nonactionable opinion? ”

The listing of arguments laid out at the motion to dismiss are:

Unsworth has to prove that the reasonable reader could believe Musk owned private details implicating Unsworth because of pedophile.
In context, Musk’s announcements can’t reasonably be read as asserting underlying knowledge that Unsworth had been a pedophile
Statements on unmoderated Internet forums are presumptively opinion.
Musk’s inherent debate is that “his over-the-top insults are not statements of truth. ”
Musk revealed the basis for his private opinion: Thailand’s recorded issues with sexual tourism
Musk’s over-the-top insults Aren’t statements of truth Musk’s colloquial statements Aren’t fairly interpreted as statements of facts
Musk’s expressions of uncertainty show that his statements did not have a concrete factual basis and were therefore opinion
Readers did not translate Musk’s statements as factual assertions

Whether these disagreements will be sufficient to convince a judge to dismiss the litigation is unclear. However, it raises another question. In case the debate is to be believed, it might suggest that additional claims and promises Musk puts on Twitter shouldn’t be trusted as reality either.

The entire “pedo guy” episode started within the summer after Musk and workers at his companies, SpaceX, Tesla, and The Boring Company, became engaged in a bid to extract 12 boys along with their soccer coach from the Tham Luang Nang Non cave system located in Northern Thailand after flood trapped the team for months. Musk’s crew developed and subsequently sent  mini submarine constructed from rocket components  that he thought could help.

The group of divers who finally rescued every person trapped in the cave didn’t use the mini-submarine, dubbed by Musk’so called people as “Wild Boar. ”

Unsworth, a British ex-pat who lives in Thailand, helped organize the rescue performance and recruited additional cave diving specialists. The fight started after Unsworth gave an interview on CNN International, where he predicted the mini submarine a “PR stunt,” that it “’d zero prospect of running ” then Musk could “stick his submarine in which it hurts. ”

Musk subsequently lashed on Twitter and insinuated which Unsworth had been a pedophile. He afterwards deleted the offending tweet and tried to backpedal — offering a apology of types on Twitter. And it could have ended there. But then Musk dug up it again during a debate with ex-TechCrunch journalist Drew Olanoff — once more on Twitter. Olanoff had brought up the “pedo guy” assault  as an illustration of Musk telling untruths.

Unsworth filed a lawsuit September from the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California against Musk for defamation. The lawsuit alleges that between July 15 and August 30, Musk occasionally used Twitter and mails to the press to publish false and defamatory accusations from Unsworth, including accusations of pedophilia and child rape.

Read the whole motion here.

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