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.