Tesla to Racism Lawsuit: You’re Acting Like Elon Musk

Serving up some chutzpah.

Ringo H.W. Chiu/AP

Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.

As Elon Musk engages in a very public and increasingly combative effort to take over Twitter—a battle that has produced endless headlines and annoying tweets—the problems at his other little venture, Tesla, have escalated. On Monday, the multi-billion dollar electric cars company blasted a lawsuit accusing Tesla of ignoring years of rampant racism at its primary factory as being merely a “quick publicity stunt.”

California’s Department of Fair and Equal Housing, the state agency suing Tesla, “conducted a bare-bones ‘investigation’ without interviewing key witnesses, requesting key documents, or ever stepping foot in the Fremont facility,” Tesla wrote in a new filing, Bloomberg reports. The company is also accusing DFEH of “abandoning its founding purpose” in order to score headlines.

As my colleague Edwin Rios reported in February, California’s lawsuit came after a lengthy, three-year investigation—and the allegations are astounding. They include Black workers getting harassed with racist slurs such as the n-word and “porch monkey.” On a daily basis, Black workers were also allegedly forced to confront racist writing left on factory walls.

Nonetheless, on Monday, Tesla went on the offensive, claiming in effect, that DFEH was acting like Tesla’s founder—a man whose career is littered with attention-seeking, headline-making, and ultimately unsubstantiated trolls.

Meanwhile, Tesla and Musk are fighting another thorny lawsuit from shareholders over Musk’s 2018 tweets about taking Tesla private. According to a court filing on Friday, a judge ruled that Musk tweeted this despite knowing this was in fact not true. 

THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

payment methods

THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate