If a billionaire CEO talks smack about you on social media, you’ll probably just have to live with it. Tesla/SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has emerged victorious over British cave explorer Vernon Unsworth’s defamation suit, which was brought against him when he called Unsworth a “pedo guy” on Twitter. Musk’s lawyers argued that the statement was merely “heated rhetoric” and “not meant as a statement of fact,” and the jury agreed after just a few hours of deliberation.
After the rescue, Unsworth was asked during a television interview on CNN about the mini-sub and Musk. He said Musk could “stick his submarine where it hurts,” and viewed the escape pod as “just a PR stunt.” Lashing back, Musk called the caver a “pedo guy” in his now infamous public tweets. The verdict could set a precedent where free speech online, libel and slander are concerned.