Elon Musk called a heroic British cave diver a “pedo guy” because the heartsick billionaire was devastated over his breakup with actress Amber Heard, according to the Tesla mogul’s younger brother.
Kimbal Musk, the 50-year-old restaurateur and chef, told author Walter Isaacson that his brother was in the midst of a “tailspin” in 2018 — when the tech titan lashed out at Vernon Unsworth following the rescue of a dozen boys trapped in a cave in Thailand.
The Tesla boss and the “Aquaman” star, who had filed for divorce from actor Johnny Depp around the time she started dating Musk, ended their year-long romance in the summer of 2017.
Kimbal Musk described Heard as “toxic,” adding that those close to his brother “hated” the actress “with a passion.”
A year after the breakup, 12 Thai boys and their soccer coach got trapped in a cave that had flooded in the Southeast Asian country. Elon Musk decided he had a solution.
He had had his engineers build a mini-sub that would be deployed into the cave, but the contraption wasn’t needed.
Thai rescuers managed to extricate the soccer coach and his players under the supervision of Unsworth, who advised authorities during the operation.
After the soccer team was saved, Unsworth trashed Musk’s mini-sub, calling the mogul’s efforts “just a PR stunt” and said the device he brought to Thailand “had absolutely no chance of working,” according to Isaacson.
Unsworth then joked that Musk “can stick his submarine where it hurts.”
A furious Musk then unleashed a tirade on the social media app that was known as Twitter and later rebranded X.
“Sorry pedo guy, you really did ask for it,” Musk wrote.
Wall Street was spooked by Musk’s outburst as Tesla stock fell 3.5% in the wake of the “pedo guy” tweet.
Under pressure from investors, Musk apologized to Unsworth in a subsequent tweet but then doubled down later that summer.
After he was contacted by BuzzFeed News, Musk sent the media outlet an email in which he wrote: “I suggest that you call people you know in Thailand, find out what’s actually going on and stop defending child rapists, you f–king a–hole.”
Musk prefaced his email with the words “off the record,” but BuzzFeed never agreed not to quote him.
After Musk’s comments were published by the news site, Unsworth filed a $190 million defamation suit against Musk.
In Los Angeles federal court, Musk testified that the “pedo guy” tweet was meant as a “flippant, off-the-cuff insult.” A jury found Musk not liable.
Isaacson wrote that the Musk-Heard relationship and subsequent breakup was the “most agonizing” for the billionaire, who frequently pursued volatile romances.
Musk admitted to Isaacson that the relationship with Heard was “brutal.”
“I’m just a fool for love. I am often a fool, but especially for love,” Musk told Isaacson.
Musk described the 18-month period that began with his 2017 breakup with Heard and encompassed Tesla nearly going under as “the most concentrated pain I’ve ever had.”
“Eighteen months of unrelenting insanity,” Musk told Isaacson. “It was mind-bogglingly painful.”
Isaacson wrote that during this time, Musk was prone to “foul moods that led to catatonic trances and depressive paralysis.”
Heard suffered through her own difficulties after the Musk breakup.
Last April, she was ordered to pay Depp more than $10 million in damages after a jury determined that she had harmed the actor’s reputation with her allegations of domestic abuse in a 2018 op-ed piece she wrote for the Washington Post.
Heard was not immediately available for comment.
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