Report: Tesla Takes Racism in the Workplace to Another Level

Illustration for article titled Report: Tesla Takes Racism in the Workplace to Another Level
Photo: SpaceX billionaire founder and chief executive, and Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk, is interviewed by Liz Claman during “Countdown to the Closing Bell,” on the Fox Business Network, in New York, Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2014. (AP Photo/Richard Drew

The New York Times took a look into the workplace dynamics at Tesla’s Fremont, California factory and just in case you thought it was going anywhere, racism appears to be alive and well.


In speaking with over two dozen current and former black Tesla employees, their complaints include racist taunts, swastikas being drawn in bathrooms, being denied promotions, and being forced to complete menial tasks.

“You hear, ‘Hey, boy, come here,’ ‘N-i-g-g-e-r,’ you know, all this,” said Mr. Diaz, who is African-American. Then, a few hours into his shift running the elevators, he noticed a drawing on a bale of cardboard. It had an oversize mouth, big eyes and a bone stuck in the patch of hair scribbled over a long face, with “Booo” written underneath.

These allegations were accumulated from internal communications, interviews, and legal statements that were acquired by The New York Times.

However, as is expected, Tesla denies that “a pattern of discrimination and harassment” exists at the factory. In a statement to The Verge, the company opposed “all forms of discrimination”:

“Tesla opposes all forms of discrimination, harassment, and unfair treatment, and we strive to provide a respectful work environment for all employees and do our best to prevent bad conduct.”

Last year, three former Tesla employees filed a lawsuit detailing how they were subjected to racial slurs and drawings from both their co-workers and supervisors. While Tesla asserted that none of these claims were addressed with their superiors, plaintiff Demetric Diaz begged to differ and instead claims that no disciplinary action was ever taken.

But the culture of a work environment is established at the top. And with Elon Musk privy to the shenanigans taking place within his company on at least two separate occasions, his decision to respond with “if someone is a jerk to you, but sincerely apologizes, it is important to be thick-skinned and accept that apology” is indicative of a much deeper issue.


“When we are notified that someone isn’t living up to these standards, we address it immediately, as should be expected of any good company,” the company said in its statement.

No pattern of discrimination? Good company?


Menace to supremacy. Founder of Extraordinary Ideas and co-host and producer of The Extraordinary Negroes podcast. Impatiently waiting for y'all to stop putting sugar in grits.


BB&J: The poster currently known as BB&J

I love how South African Hank Scorpio has all of the markings of the Apartheid dictator era in his company, even down to the theftinspiration” of the company’s name itself. Reports just verify what I already know from people who work there. Dude is a supervillain, straight up.