Read: Tesla’s full cease-and-desist letter to The Dawn Project over its anti-FSD campaign

Credit: @Sentrymostwantd/Twitter

After weeks of Dan O’Dowd’s The Dawn Project aggressively pushing its new anti-FSD ad, Tesla has sent a cease-and-desist letter demanding that the campaign be stopped immediately. 

A full copy of Tesla’s cease-and-desist letter was recently shared online courtesy of FSD Beta tester @WholeMarsCatalog. As could be seen in the document, Tesla was quite thorough in its arguments against O’Dowd’s anti-FSD campaign. The electric vehicle maker also made it a point to highlight that its vehicles consistently rank among the safest in the industry, as validated by international testing agencies. 

Following is the text of Tesla’s cease-and-desist letter

AUGUST 11, 2022


Mr. Daniel O’Dowd, Founder and CEO 

The Dawn Project, Inc.

Re: Cease and Desist

Dear Mr. O’Dowd:

It has come to our attention that you, personally, and The Dawn Project have been disparaging Tesla’s commercial interests and disseminating defamatory information to the public regarding the capabilities of Tesla’s Full Self Driving (FSD) (Beta) technology. We demand that you immediately cease and desist further dissemination of all defamatory information, issue a formal public retraction within 24 hours and provide Tesla with the below demanded documentation.

Californians soundly rejected a political campaign, which was based on the single issue of spreading misinformation about Tesla, with barely 1% of voters in California’s U.S. Senate Race showing support for this platform. Despite the public’s very clear rejection, you and The Dawn Project continue to spread misinformation about Tesla, by falsely claiming that Tesla’s FSD (Beta) technology will not recognize children and by falsely stating that the feature will run over children when it is engaged. The purported tests misuse and misrepresent the capabilities of Tesla’s technology, and disregard widely recognized testing performed by independent agencies as well as the experiences shared by our customers. In fact, unsolicited scrutiny of the methodology behind The Dawn Project’s tests has already (and within hours of you publicly making defamatory allegations) shown that the testing is seriously deceptive and likely fraudulent.

First, to be clear, FSD Beta incorporates safety by design and does recognize pedestrians, including children, and when utilized properly, the system reacts to prevent or mitigate a collision. In addition, every Tesla is equipped with Forward Collision Warning to warn drivers of an impending frontal collision; Automatic Emergency Braking to apply braking when an obstacle is detected that the Tesla may impact; and Obstacle-Aware Acceleration to reduce acceleration when an obstacle ahead is in the driving path.

Second, the totality of these safety features are the reason why Tesla vehicles have earned a reputation for being the safest on the road. Contrary to the obviously results-driven bias of your purported tests, independent safety agencies have rated Tesla’s safety at the highest levels. For example, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), an independent nonprofit scientific organization dedicated to reducing death and injuries on the roadways, rates current tested Tesla models with “superior” Automatic Emergency Braking for both vehicle-to-pedestrian prevention and vehicle-to-vehicle collisions. Notably, the IIHS conducted tests simulating crossing children for the 2022 Tesla Model 3 and 2022 Tesla Model Y, and in the tests, both models avoided collisions with the child dummies. 

In contrast, your testing and methodology have already received swift and public rebukes from multiple sources. For example, the commercial you released claims that the tests shown were performed with Tesla’s FSD Beta engaged. But Electrek reported that your our own videos clearly show that FSD Beta was not engaged at times. Similarly, Electrek reports that The Dawn Project manipulated its video after being confronted with the defamatory nature of its advertisement. Despite your clear knowledge of the misleading nature of the advertisements, you continue to promote and disseminate these advertisements on multiple mediums.

While you and The Dawn Project purport to advocate for safety, the videos portray unsafe and improper use of FSD Beta and active safety features. Your actions actually put consumers at risk.

Accordingly, we demand the following:

1. Immediately cease and desist the dissemination of all defamatory advertisements;

2. Immediately remove the videos under the caption “Test Track” from The Dawn Project

website and any website where you or The Dawn Project disseminated a copy;

3. Issue a public retraction of all defamatory and false claims within 24 hours of receipt of this correspondence;

4. Disclose all sources of funding for the purported “tests” in the commercial, including whether any campaign funds were used or whether you were funded by Tesla’s competitors;

5. Disclose all recognized regulatory agencies that endorsed your testing methodology and/or results.

Furthermore, you and The Dawn Project, including any and all employees, officers, directors, and agents, are hereby placed on notice that Tesla demands that you preserve all documents, including communications, videos, and data, related to your purported tests and advertisements (including print and video) along with any and all communications surrounding the same. Tesla will exercise all legal remedies available to it in the event of your non-compliance with the above and reserves all rights. Please adjust your actions accordingly.

Very truly yours,

Dinna Eskin, Esq. 

Sr. Director and Deputy General Counsel 

Tesla, Inc.

Cc: The Dawn Project, Inc. Registered Agent

1505 Corporation 


National Registered Agents, Inc.

While Tesla’s cease-and-desist letter shows that Tesla is dead serious about stopping The Dawn Project’s anti-FSD campaign, Elon Musk himself appears to be taking the events in stride, at least for now. In a response on Twitter, Musk simply posted a couple of emojis suggesting that the whole scenario is “bat sh*t crazy.”

Don’t hesitate to contact us with news tips. Just send a message to simon@teslarati.com to give us a heads up.

Read: Tesla’s full cease-and-desist letter to The Dawn Project over its anti-FSD campaign
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