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Tesla employee allegedly ‘sabotaged’ manufacturing operations after failed promotion, says Musk

Tesla CEO Elon Musk sent an email to employees Sunday night, alleging that a disgruntled employee has committed sabotage against the company.

Musk’s email, which was sent on Sunday night, stated that the employee conducted a rather “extensive and damaging sabotage” to Tesla’s operations, including changing codes to the Tesla Manufacturing Operating System and exporting the company’s data to outsiders. Musk also noted that the saboteur acted in bad faith against the company out of frustration over a failed promotion. Musk stated that the scope of the person’s attack remains unknown, though what has been admitted so far was grave.

Here is Musk’s email last Sunday in its entirety.

From: Elon Musk

To: Everybody

Subject: Some concerning news

June 17, 2018

11:57 p.m.

I was dismayed to learn this weekend about a Tesla employee who had conducted quite extensive and damaging sabotage to our operations. This included making direct code changes to the Tesla Manufacturing Operating System under false usernames and exporting large amounts of highly sensitive Tesla data to unknown third parties.

The full extent of his actions are not yet clear, but what he has admitted to so far is pretty bad. His stated motivation is that he wanted a promotion that he did not receive. In light of these actions, not promoting him was definitely the right move.

However, there may be considerably more to this situation than meets the eye, so the investigation will continue in depth this week. We need to figure out if he was acting alone or with others at Tesla and if he was working with any outside organizations.

As you know, there are a long list of organizations that want Tesla to die. These include Wall Street short-sellers, who have already lost billions of dollars and stand to lose a lot more. Then there are the oil & gas companies, the wealthiest industry in the world — they don’t love the idea of Tesla advancing the progress of solar power & electric cars. Don’t want to blow your mind, but rumor has it that those companies are sometimes not super nice. Then there are the multitude of big gas/diesel car company competitors. If they’re willing to cheat so much about emissions, maybe they’re willing to cheat in other ways?

Most of the time, when there is theft of goods, leaking of confidential information, dereliction of duty or outright sabotage, the reason really is something simple like wanting to get back at someone within the company or at the company as a whole. Occasionally, it is much more serious.

Please be extremely vigilant, particularly over the next few weeks as we ramp up the production rate to 5k/week. This is when outside forces have the strongest motivation to stop us.

If you know of, see or suspect anything suspicious, please send a note to [email address removed for privacy] with as much info as possible. This can be done in your name, which will be kept confidential, or completely anonymously.

Looking forward to having a great week with you as we charge up the super exciting ramp to 5000 Model 3 cars per week!

Will follow this up with emails every few days describing the progress and challenges of the Model 3 ramp.

Thanks for working so hard to make Tesla successful,


A leaked email from Elon Musk on Monday also referenced a possible act of sabotage against the company. This time around, Musk noted that there was a rather mysterious fire in the body-in-white production line. While the flames were extinguished and there were no injuries from the incident, the fire did stop the production line for several hours. Musk has admitted that the fire could have been a random event, though he did quote Intel founder Andy Grove by stating that “only the paranoid survive.”

Tesla has recently displayed encouraging signs of its capability to scale the production of the Model 3, with Musk recently sharing an image of the first Model 3 Performance Dual Motor rolling off Tesla’s new assembly line. Together with improving expectations from Wall Street, the company’s stock has rebounded after a steep drop earlier this year. As of Monday’s close, Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) was up 3.53%, trading at $370.85.

Tesla employee allegedly ‘sabotaged’ manufacturing operations after failed promotion, says Musk
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