THE Brit cave diver who helped save a trapped Thai youth football team ruthlessly tried to make money from the rescue, new court documents appear to show.
Vernon Unsworth is suing Elon Musk after the Tesla billionaire dubbed him a “pedo guy” when he mocked his offer of a mini submarine to help with the mission.
Elon Musk is being sued by the Brit diver who helped rescue a Thai youth football team last year[/caption]
Vernon Unsworth ruthlessly tried to cash in on the rescue with book and movie deals, according to court documents[/caption]
But text messages allegedly sent by Unsworth, 64, to a friend show how he was plotting to cash in on his heroics with movie and book deals, it’s claimed.
In one message apparently written by Unsworth, he says he plans to play “hardball” with TV networks vying for the rights to tell his story.
They were contained among a tranche of court documents filed in the US on Thursday by Musk’s legal team, DailyMail.com reports.
The SpaceX founder – worth $20billion – is fighting a $75,000 defamation suit over his “pedo guy” jibe.
Musk, 48, had lashed out in now-deleted tweets after Unsworth told him to “stick his submarine where it hurts”.
Unsworth led the team of divers who extracted a boys football team from a network of flooded caves in Thailand in July last year.
After receiving criticism for his insult, Musk doubled down by hiring a $50,000 private investigator to dig up dirt on the diver.
That investigator turned out to be a convicted fraudster from Dorset.
Musk’s legal team have since insisted “pedo guy” was a “common insult” used during Musk’s upbringing in South Africa – and was meant without malice.
There is no suggestion the texts allegedly sent by Unsworth in the weeks after the rescue constitute wrongdoing.
But they could demonstrate a different side to Unsworth that show he’s not the battered party he claims to be, Musk’s attorney Alex Spiro claims.
In the messages, sent to his associate Thanet Natisri, Unsworth appears to relish in the media attention the rescue brought him.
He brags about how “needed” he is and reveals how he’s hired an agent to “control £££$$”.
A text apparently from Unsworth also adds that it was “very stupid” of him not to demand payment from a journalist writing a book about the rescue.
You should see the email I’ve just received from Dr Harry and Dr Craig book writer. They NEED ME SO SO MUCH. Sent it on to my agent
Text allegedly sent by Vernon Unsworth
He writes to Natisri: “Not a £$ from Matt (crazy) very stupid of us.”
Unsworth goes on to boast about being contacted by a set of book writers.
He writes: “You should see the email I’ve just received from Dr Harry and Dr Craig book writer.
“They NEED ME SO SO MUCH. Sent it on to my agent…
“I’m good to play hardball had enough of book writers and film companies taking the piss.”
Unsworth’s lawyer said last night: “The facts refute Musk’s dishonest legal filings.
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“Mr Unsworth has received a total of £2,400 for his assistance in connection with two documentaries about the Thai Cave Rescue….
“At trial, I look forward to addressing Musk’s ongoing PR and legal efforts to falsely smear Mr. Unsworth.
“Facts are stubborn things.”
Musk lashed out at Unsworth after the Brit diver told him to ‘stick his submarine where it hurts’[/caption]