Elon Musk found not guilty of defaming British cave explorer

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DWG

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I think the finding is more "insults are protected speech" than he didn't defame him, which it's pretty clear he did.
 

sferrin

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I think the finding is more "insults are protected speech" than he didn't defame him, which it's pretty clear he did.


Wait, you're telling me if somebody calls me a name I can't run to the courts and sue them? The horror. What kind of world are we living in?
 

DWG

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If he'd been able to bring the action in the UK, he'd probably have won. The US has pretty weak libel laws, while the UK's are probably too strong, but there's a happy medium in there somewhere.
 

Foo Fighter

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There are people in the world who feel particularly privileged to dump frustration on others. It is a well known issue online. Perhaps we need to consider the responsibility of free speech and what we do with it. To my mind, someone in a position of being listened to by many and quoted around the globe, should have been more mindful of the target of his little rant. Calling someone who risked their life to save children a paedo is out and out wrong. Should we need the courts to deal with it? Not really, we are adults after all, are we not?
 

sferrin

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If he'd been able to bring the action in the UK, he'd probably have won. The US has pretty weak libel laws, while the UK's are probably too strong, but there's a happy medium in there somewhere.
Well the UK is CTD. The notion of being able to sue somebody for calling you a name is insane.
 

sferrin

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There are people in the world who feel particularly privileged to dump frustration on others. It is a well known issue online. Perhaps we need to consider the responsibility of free speech and what we do with it. To my mind, someone in a position of being listened to by many and quoted around the globe, should have been more mindful of the target of his little rant. Calling someone who risked their life to save children a paedo is out and out wrong. Should we need the courts to deal with it? Not really, we are adults after all, are we not?

Apparently not. Adults don't go running to momma every time they get a bump.
 

CNH

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So I can now call anyone I dislike as 'pedo' and get away with it?
 

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I am not sure if the web is the best place to discuss this ethically.
 
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CJGibson

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'So I can now call anyone I dislike as 'pedo' and get away with it?'

Not in my local. They tend to bypass the services of m'learned friends.



Chris
 
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Arjen

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The court might let you get away with it. Face to face, if you don't care for a full set of front teeth - sure, try your luck. Twitter/Facebook/whatever have made it a lot safer to indulge in rudeness. Happy Times.
 

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The US has pretty weak libel laws,

As it should be. To be actionable by the courts, backed up by the power and force of governments which can and will use physical beatdowns, imprisonment and shootin' ya dead for not doing what the courts say, libel needs to really mean something. "He insulted me" or "he hurt my feelings" are far, FAR below the threshhold of what a court should care about. "His claims were not only false, but were actual lies *and* they caused me measurable, objective harm that any reasonable person would immediately recognize as not only meaningful harm but the sort of harm that the libeler should have reasonably predicted from his libel" is the metric that should be employed. Anything less than that and you could end up with nonsense like laws against blasphemy or misgendering and the like.

In general, speech should be countered with speech. Countering speech with a lawsuit, an arrest or a punch to the yap should be reserved for extreme cases, such as someone advocating for violence.

 
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GARGEAN

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Well the UK is CTD. The notion of being able to sue somebody for calling you a name is insane.
If calling someone names is same as accusing someone in pedophilia for you...
 

Orionblamblam

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Well the UK is CTD. The notion of being able to sue somebody for calling you a name is insane.
If calling someone names is same as accusing someone in pedophilia for you...

Name calling of *any* kind is a form of accusation, whether it's "dummy," "pedo guy" or "fascist." At *some* point it goes from name-calling to libel, but just a couple of tweets? Meh.
 
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GARGEAN

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IIRC he hired an investigator to look if that guy is really a pedo. For me this is a bit farther than "calling names".
 

Arjen

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Mr Musk should have done his investigating before he tweeted pedo-guy.
 

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I cant understand why everyone religiously follows Musk. But to me it depends how big the impact(like shattering your career) is for example I truly believe that the Covington Catholic high school student had the right to sue CNN.
 

sferrin

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Mr Musk should have done his investigating before he tweeted pedo-guy.

Apparently not. I wonder how much it cost the ambulance chaser to get nothing for his booboo?
 

Foo Fighter

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It seems that Musk like many others with a high profile has a liking for his own opinion, it is stupid but perhaps this sort of behaviour can be starved of attention rather than have it emphasised. The problem is the media likes this sort of thing and makes a big performance out of it. In the school playground this would be shrugged off in any child over the age of about five.
 

sferrin

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In the school playground this would be shrugged off in any child over the age of about five.

Also in the real world. $hit talking is just that. Anybody getting so wounded by it they need to run to the courts should run to a therapist instead. (Obviously there's a difference between say, a private citizen bad-mouthing another private citizen, and a news organization actively lying about somebody.)
 

Orionblamblam

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I cant understand why everyone religiously follows Musk. But to me it depends how big the impact(like shattering your career) is for example I truly believe that the Covington Catholic high school student had the right to sue CNN.

Indeed. Having a NEWS ORGANIZATION, a major corporation whose entire purpose in life is the accurate reporting of the facts, tell lies about you is a whole different sort of thing than having a private individual, even a bajillionaire, call you naughty names. Because having "Covington Kids are horrible, horrible racists" hit all the news outlets means that when these kids go to get into college or get jobs, a simple Google search will bring up "horrible, horrible racists" as the first description of you. Since we as a society have decided that being a racist is a worse thing than being a rapist or a socialist or a puppy torturer, this means that your entire life can be upended because lazy and ideologically driven reporters decided that lyign about you was better than spending five minutes doing actual journalism.
 

drejr

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If he'd been able to bring the action in the UK, he'd probably have won. The US has pretty weak libel laws, while the UK's are probably too strong, but there's a happy medium in there somewhere.
Well the UK is CTD. The notion of being able to sue somebody for calling you a name is insane.

Defamation isn't calling someone a name, even in the UK.
 

sferrin

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If he'd been able to bring the action in the UK, he'd probably have won. The US has pretty weak libel laws, while the UK's are probably too strong, but there's a happy medium in there somewhere.
Well the UK is CTD. The notion of being able to sue somebody for calling you a name is insane.

Defamation isn't calling someone a name, even in the UK.

Then we're not comparing apples to apples, and the notion of Elon losing in this case, in the UK, is absurd no? (Because what he did wasn't defamation. Obviously.)
 

DWG

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"He insulted me" or "he hurt my feelings" are far, FAR below the threshhold of what a court should care about. "His claims were not only false, but were actual lies *and* they caused me measurable, objective harm that any reasonable person would immediately recognize as not only meaningful harm but the sort of harm that the libeler should have reasonably predicted from his libel" is the metric that should be employed.

Unfounded allegations of paedophilia have repeatedly gotten people killed* (see especially the Bijan Ebrahimi case, which was so bad police officers were jailed for taking the side of the accuser and eventual murderer), so it's not one to be taken lightly. With the existence of sex-tourism and its intersection with paedophilia it's the kind of thing likely to stick to a Brit living working in Thailand, potentially affecting his livelihood, and reputational damage is precisely the kind of thing libel is intended to be applied to. Musk has a big mouth and a larger megaphone, and it's repeatedly gotten him into trouble, so he should have been aware what he was doing could reasonably be construed as libelous.

* Katharine Quarmby has a discussion of the history of its use against disabled people and the several murders that have resulted in her book Scapegoat, the Ebrahimi case is a more recent example, and not the only one.
 

sferrin

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"He insulted me" or "he hurt my feelings" are far, FAR below the threshhold of what a court should care about. "His claims were not only false, but were actual lies *and* they caused me measurable, objective harm that any reasonable person would immediately recognize as not only meaningful harm but the sort of harm that the libeler should have reasonably predicted from his libel" is the metric that should be employed.

Unfounded allegations of paedophilia have repeatedly gotten people killed* (see especially the Bijan Ebrahimi case, which was so bad police officers were jailed for taking the side of the accuser and eventual murderer), so it's not one to be taken lightly.

You seem to be purposely conflating $hit-talking with actual accusations.
 

DWG

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You seem to be purposely conflating $hit-talking with actual accusations.

It's plain Musk made efforts to turn it into an actual accusation, and with a megaphone as large as Musk's, and a story as large as the cave-rescue, which was headlines worldwide, I'm not certain there is a practical difference.

Many of the false paedophile accusations that ended in murder probably started as shit-talking, that gradually morphed into actual belief.
 

Foo Fighter

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Indeed, I thought it must be Tuesday but fortunately, not. This particular topic has longer legs than it needs.
 
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