The Industry

Elon Musk Apologizes to Thai Cave Rescue Diver He Called a “Pedo”

Elon Musk.
Elon Musk. Joshua Lott/Getty Images

In what could be the final episode in Elon Musk’s bizarre intrusion on the Thai cave rescue story, Musk apologized on Wednesday to Vernon Unsworth, the British caver he publicly and baselessly called a pedophile.

“[My] words were spoken in anger after Mr. Unsworth said several untruths & suggested I engage in a sexual act with the mini-sub, which had been built as an act of kindness & according to specifications from the dive team leader,” Musk said on Twitter. “Nonetheless, his actions against me do not justify my actions against him, and for that I apologize to Mr. Unsworth and to the companies I represent as leader. The fault is mine and mine alone.”


The comment about a “sexual act with the mini-sub” appears to refer to a suggestion by Unsworth, who participated in the widely publicized rescue of a dozen Thai boys from a flooded cave, that Musk “stick his submarine where it hurts.”


The feud between these two men revolved around Musk’s efforts to build a miniature submarine to transport the children trapped in the cave. Musk did build a version of the submarine and bring it to Thailand, but officials involved in the rescue operation chose not to use it. Unsworth told CNN in an interview soon afterward that the submarine was a “PR stunt” with “absolutely no chance of working.”

In response, Musk tweeted that “we will make [a video] of the mini-sub/pod going all the way to Cave 5 no problemo.” He added, “Sorry pedo guy, you really did ask for it.”


As Musk was being widely criticized for abusing his considerable influence on Twitter to attack a far less powerful man who played a leading role in the rescue operation, Unsworth told the press that he was weighing legal action.

Unsworth told Reuters on Wednesday that he was aware of Musk’s apology but did not comment any further on it.

Musk did not seem wholehearted in his contrition. After all, while he apologized to Unsworth, the apology appeared in a response to another user’s tweet that linked to a defense of Musk. “Journalism is dead,” the Twitter user wrote.