Tesla Responds To Racism Allegations, Calls Them A “Hotbed of Misinformation”

Tesla responded to a recent lawsuit alleging racist behavior at its Freemont factory with a lengthy blog post called “Hotbed of Misinformation”.

Last Monday, an ex-Tesla worker named Marcus Vaughn filed a lawsuit against them, claiming that he and more than 100 African-American Tesla workers were subjected to racist behavior, with slurs being used to address them by supervisors and co-workers, with the company ignoring them despite their complaints. Vaughn also claims that he was fired from the company for “not having a positive attitude”.

In its response, Tesla acknowledged that several African-American and Hispanic individuals made use of racial language, including the “n-word” and “w-word” towards each other after investigating a group of people who worked on or near Vaughn’s team. The investigation resulted in the firing of three people.

“Several months ago we had already investigated disappointing behavior involving a group of individuals who worked on or near Marcus Vaughn’s team. At the time, our investigation identified a number of conflicting accusations and counter-accusations between several African-American and Hispanic individuals, alleging use of racial language, including the “n-word” and “w-word,” towards each other and a threat of violence. After a thorough investigation, immediate action was taken, which included terminating the employment of three of the individuals.”

“We believe this was the fair and just response to the facts that we learned. There will be further action as necessary, including parting ways with anyone whose behavior prevents Tesla from being a great place to work and making sure we do everything possible to stop bad behavior from happening in the first place. Our company has more than 33,000 employees, with over 10,000 in the Fremont factory alone, so it is not humanly possible to stop all bad conduct, but we will do our best to make it is as close to zero as possible.”

Tesla also claims that there are a number of false statements in the class action lawsuit filed against them.

– There is only one actual plaintiff (Marcus Vaughn), not 100. The reference to 100 is a complete fabrication with no basis in fact at all.

– The plaintiff was employed by a temp agency, not by Tesla as claimed in the lawsuit.

– Marcus was not fired, he was on a six month temp contract that simply ended as contracted.

– His email to Elon was about his commute and Tesla’s shuttles, which was addressed as he requested. There was no mention of racial discrimination whatsoever.

– The trial lawyer who filed this lawsuit has a long track record of extorting money for meritless claims and using the threat of media attacks and expensive trial costs to get companies to settle. At Tesla, we would rather pay ten times the settlement demand in legal fees and fight to the ends of the Earth than give in to extortion and allow this abuse of the legal system.

Finally the company included Elon Musk’s full email sent to workers on May 31 in a bid to clear things up.

  • Bash

    Great speech, but why did he have to send it at 2:37 AM?!!

    • plattform

      Does anyone think he actually sleeps more than 4 hours a night? If Tesla wants to appear more friendly to the left, it should probably hire Apple’s legal team and start filing amicus briefs in tandem with the rest of the tech community, beyond just the immigration cases. Don’t forget, Elon is an immigrant too. If what Tesla counters is true, then this lawyer is obviously trolling for a settlement and will probably end up regretting going against a company with such strong convictions. If Tesla hadn’t immediately fired the offending employees, he might have a case. Seeing that this individual was a temp agency employee changes the headlines completely from “Tesla fires black employee” to “Temp employee’s contract ends at Tesla.”

      Tesla itself is a minority among industrial companies, so it ought to fight for the little guy. Being diametrically opposed to the status quo and being a poster child for the paradigm shift in the auto industry has made them the internet’s favorite punching bag or underdog. Whether you love or hate Tesla seems to be closely aligned to your personality and personality, dreamers and creative types are full of hope and optimism for a cleaner, faster and more efficient future and are willing to forgive the growing pains and headaches associated with designing and entirely new industrial cycle. Cynics and Tesla shorts would rather focus on these hiccups as representative of Musk being a snake oil salesman, and that the obvious capital cost and shift to electric propulsion isn’t worth it in the face of entrenched giants.

      It reminds me a lot of Apple shorts and pundits in the late 90s and early 2000s as Steve Jobs came back to the company, they failed to recognize the singular vision that would ultimately produce the iPhone and upend the entire tech industry. For Tesla, it’s not the Model 3 or the semi unveiling tonight, it’s the collective vision of Tesla as a vertically integrated energy company that controls how you get energy, what products you want to use that energy in your home and your car, and how to lock you into that complete cycle.

      • Moveon Libtards


        What goes around, comes around. BS racial cases too. See all the BS cases against Conservatives and Caucasian people that you never defended. Elon is getting his now and you dont like it. Karma.

      • Hope for the Best

        I don’t believe Tesla is “diametrically opposed to the status quo” or “a minority among industrial companies” as it’s referred to as “capitalism”. It’s all the same, just a different time and place.

        And, as the saying goes: There are at least two stories to every side and the truth resides somewhere between them. I would hope that Tesla is not a company of racism, but Musk cannot be everywhere all the time. Just as Musk cannot change the world on his own…it takes many others to do so (Steve Jobs was no exception).

    • Dennis James

      Because he works late, pioneering work in rocket science is not done by people that work from 9 to 5 and are in bed by 10pm.

      • Bash


      • fabri99

        A good eight-hours night sleep makes people their most successful.

    • Moveon Libtards

      Because they are triggered Tesla has been getting so much bad news lately…

  • Moveon Libtards

    Hey, look, it is Bradley and the battery gang defending Tesla again. The cult is awake at 2:30 am.

    Maybe all the bad bews about Tesla recently triggered them. Let’s see:

    – Racial discrimination case brought by over 100 AFRICAN AMERICANS that woek at Tesla!!! Are you racist CS trying to downplay and legitimize their claims???!

    – $16 million list every day

    – top engineers quitting

    – Model 3 production STILL delayed

    – quality and safety problems galore

    – sales dropping fast

    Yup, Tesla is perfect with the CS cult of Bradley and the Battery Boys.

  • Moveon Libtards

    Roberto Baldwin of Engadget asks one question: Can Tesla avoid becoming the BlackBerry of electric cars?

    The simple answer is no.

    As we have highlighted the short thesis for Tesla in yesterday’s post titled: Jim Chanos Adds To Tesla Short, Sees Musk Stepping Down… We had to make one adjustment and add line 8, which now includes the understanding of Fisker’s solid-state battery technology and how it could disrupt the entire EV party.

    1. Negative Cash Flows

    “If you can’t make money selling a $100,000 car to rich people, how are you going to make money selling a $45,000 car to normal people?” Rocker told The Times. He was referring to the upcoming mass-market Model 3. “I’m saying they’re going to lose money on every Model 3 they build and sell,” Spiegel said. Based on Tesla’s Q4 2016 earnings report, he figured the combined average selling price for non-leased Model S and X is about $104,000 and the combined average cost of building them about $82,000.

    2. Competition from the Big Guys

    Electric vehicles are still only a tiny fraction of total new vehicle sales in the US. Tesla sold about half of them. In March, according to Autodata, Tesla sold 4,050 vehicles in the US, similar to Porsche. All automakers combined sold 1.56 million new vehicles. This gave Tesla a market share of 0.26%. “Tesla faces a formidable set of competitors, and they’re coming in with guns blazing,” Wahlman told The Times. “Once the market is flooded with electric vehicles from manufacturers who can cross-subsidize them with profits from their conventional cars, somewhere around 2020 or 2021, Tesla will be driven into bankruptcy,” Spiegel said.

    3. Tesla’s vanishing tax credits

    The federal tax credit of $7,500 that EV buyers currently get is limited to 200,000 vehicles for each automaker. Once that automaker hits that point, tax credits are reduced and then phased out. Of all automakers, Tesla is closest to the 200,000 mark. Under its current production goals, the tax credits for its cars could start declining in 2018. This would give competitors, whose customers still get the full tax credit, a major advantage. About 370,000 folks put down a refundable $1,000 deposit on Tesla’s Model 3, perhaps figuring they’d get the $7,500 tax credit. But as it stands, many won’t. Rocker thinks that this is going to be an issue. The refundable deposit “commits them to nothing,” he said. Those that don’t get the tax credit may just ask for their money back and buy an EV that is still eligible for the credit.

    4. The Question of patent protection

    Tesla has made its patents available to all comers, thus lowering its patent protections against competitors. Also, the key part of an EV, the battery, is produced by suppliers; they, and not Tesla, own the intellectual property. This is true for all automakers. But Tesla might still be closely guarding crucial trade secrets that are not patented.

    5. Musk’s distractions from his day job

    Musk has a lot of irons in the fire: Tesla, SpaceX (with which he wants to build a colony on Mars or something), solar-panel installer SolarCity which Tesla bailed out last year; projects ranging from artificial intelligence to tunnel digging; venture capital activities…. “He’s all over the map, from tunneling to flights to Mars to solar roof tiles,” Rocker said. These announcements have the effect of boosting Tesla’s stock: “It’s ‘Let’s get the acolytes excited. Implant in the brain! Let’s buy Tesla stock!’”

    6. Execution risk

    “Investing is all about possibility and probability,” Yusko said. “Is it possible that Tesla will produce 500,000 cars in the next two or three years? Yes. Is it probable? No.” Tesla has missed many deadlines and goals, and quality problems cropped up in early production models. As Tesla is trying to make the transition to a mass-market automaker, execution risk will grow since mass-market customers are less forgiving.

    7. Investor fatigue

    Having lost money in every one of its 10 years of existence, Tesla asks investors regularly for more money to fill the new holes. In March, it got $1.2 billion. In May last year, it got $1.5 billion. Tesla will need many more billions to scale up production and to digest the losses. Tesla has been ingenious in this department. But when will investors get tired of it? “We’re awfully close to the point where people wake up and realize these guys are seriously diluting our equity” with new stock and convertible bond issues, Yusko said. According to The Times, Yusko “is looking for the moment when the true believers begin to lose faith.”


    8. Emerging solid-state battery technology

    Musk has invested a lot into his Gigafactory and technology producing lithium-ion batteries. The EV game is all about the best battery technology and a new threat has emerged using solid-state technology. If Tesla does not adopt to these new battery trends consumers would likely gravitate to EVs who posses such technology, because of the longer distance and shorter charge time.

    • Moveon Libtards

      Fisker just announced game-chaging battery tech that screws Elon and Tesla. Of course you wont hear this on this Tesla fanboy site. Autoblog and ZeroHedge have it though. Big news.

  • Knotmyrealname

    What’s the ‘W’ word?
    …And I have said before, the double standards that prevail amongst the ‘less represented’ community, esp. the usage of the ‘N’ word – a word so shocking and abhorrent to them – but, somehow it’s OK to use between them.

    • Stigasawuswrecks

      Excuse me? Not all of us feel that way. I detest the word, my family detests it, and my friends do as well. I grew up being called one and treated like one since a child and it was never in a buddy buddy sense. So before you spout ignorance you might want to get your facts straight. I’ve been called that by more white people in my life than black people so what does your ignorant ass have to say about that?

      • Knotmyrealname

        So aggressive. Wow, thanks for your mild response.

    • fabri99

      I’m not sure that’s completely accurate, to be honest.

      • Knotmyrealname

        Please don’t take it as a blanket statement. I’m sure as with everything in this world there are exceptions. I have faith that what I mentioned was more the exception rather than the rule, but…. one has to ask when you also hear black performers and recording ‘artists’ spouting the word like there’s no tomorrow – in these days – where’s the cutoff?
        So, if I hear it on the radio, a performer has consciously added the word to his/her work, no doubt presented the work dozens of times before recording it, to an audience of media & recording representatives, then cut the track and then sold it to a radio station or streaming service before it reaches your ears. It’s had many opportunities to be filtered out, but it doesn’t. It then comes across as ‘being alright’ for ‘inter-less-represented-community’ people to use.
        If it’s such a horrible word, why is it out there? What, therefore, is the message being transmitted by these artists?
        Is it an OK word or not?

        • fabri99

          It’s really not an ok word. And it is especially less ok for you to use it if you’re not included in the group of people the “N-word” was meant to insult.

          • Knotmyrealname

            So it’s OK for black people to use amongst themselves even if derogatory, but not white to black?

    • Shane

      Probably wetback if they were Hispanic.

      • Stigasawuswrecks

        Nice comment, bigot.

        • MarketAndChurch

          He’s not being a biggot. You have to read comments in context. There’s a difference between calling someone something and citing what was said for others who have no idea what the “w-word” may be. We all know what the n word is, but the w word however is less known.

        • Shane

          God you are so dumb.

    • brn

      In modern social society, I can only assume the word is “White”. Seems to be the worst thing you can call someone.

      • Knotmyrealname

        Ha! Yeah thanks.

  • LJ

    What I’d like to know is who did Elon’s hair plugs?

  • Shane

    Funny they mentioned it about then calling each other that. That’s how it works here in America. They call each other the n word all day but if I ask them if they like dark beer I’m racist.

    • Knotmyrealname

      Sorta where I was coming from. Oh, and don’t forget you’re also apparently ‘ignorant’.

  • MarketAndChurch

    colored people calling other colored people racist words. what’s new.

    As I said before, welcome to the bay area.

  • benT
  • brn

    Of course it’s a hotbed of misinformation. Thanks to instant media, everything is a hotbed of misinformation. Nobody knows anything about anything anymore.