Elon Musk tells a reporter to 'stop defending child rapists' as he doubles down on Thai cave rescuer attack

  • In an e-mail to a BuzzFeed reporter, Tesla CEO Elon Musk doubled down on his attacks on Vernon Unsworth, the cave diver who played an instrumental role in the Thai cave rescue this summer.

  • He told the reporter to "stop defending child rapists," and that "I f***** hope" that he gets sued by Unsworth.

  • The e-mail was prefaced "off the record." But because BuzzFeed didn't agree to those terms before the e-mail was sent, it's free to discuss the contents of the message.

In an e-mail to a BuzzFeed News reporter, Tesla CEO Elon Musk doubled down in his attacks on Vernon Unsworth, the cave diver hailed as a hero in this summer's rescue of a youth soccer team trapped in a cave in Thailand.

“I suggest that you call people you know in Thailand, find out what’s actually going on and stop defending child rapists, you f****** a**hole,” Musk wrote in the email, according to BuzzFeed News. “He’s an old, single white guy from England who’s been traveling to or living in Thailand for 30 to 40 years, mostly Pattaya Beach, until moving to Chiang Rai for a child bride who was about 12 years old at the time," the email continued.

Musk reportedly went further, saying that "I f***** hope" that Unsworth sues him — something that Unsworth has threatened to do, per an earlier BuzzFeed report. In fact, Musk's e-mails to BuzzFeed were sent last week, in response to a request for comment on Unsworth's preparations to sue.

Musk did not provide any evidence for these allegations, according to the BuzzFeed report. Of note is that the e-mail from Musk to BuzzFeed was prefaced with "off the record" — a condition that needs to be agreed upon by both parties. Since BuzzFeed did not agree to keep the e-mail off the record beforehand, the news organization explained in the story that it did not consider itself bound by any such confidentiality terms.

“Elon Musk’s continuing campaign of publishing vile and false accusations against Mr. Unsworth is inexcusable. Musk hopes to be sued and he deserves to be sued. He will be," L. Lin Wood, Unsworth's lawyer, tells Business Insider.

This feud began in July, when Unsworth criticized Musk's attempts to deploy a custom-built submarine to help with the rescue of the soccer team, calling it a publicity stunt. In response, Musk called Unsworth a "pedo" on Twitter, though he later apologized and deleted the tweet. More recently, Musk appeared to reopen the matter, when he questioned why Unsworth hasn't sued him yet.

"You don't think it's strange he hasn't sued me? He was offered free legal services," Musk said on Twitter, in response to criticism from user Drew Olanoff over the "pedo" tweet. It remains unclear what kind of "free legal services" he was referring to.

Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Read the full BuzzFeed report here, including screenshots of Musk's e-mails.