Tesla boss Elon Musk is not happy with some of the media outlets. Discussing the company's third-quarter earnings on Wednesday (1 November), Musk directed his ire at some of the media persons over the way they covered the news about Tesla's recent layoffs.
In October, Tesla fired hundreds of employees company-wide as it ramped up Model 3 production. The exact number of employees axed was at the time estimated to be around 400 to 700 people, which is about 1 to 2% of the company's entire workforce.
A Mashable report on the call mentioned that Musk's voice was audibly strained as he brought this matter up in his opening comments. He clarified the number of those who were ousted by saying that contrary to what was reported by news outlets, the actual number of employees who were let go was 300. He also made it a point to mention that the firing was a result of performance reviews and not a random downsizing move.
In a statement made by a Tesla spokesperson at the time of the firing, "Like all companies, Tesla conducts an annual performance review during which a manager and employee discuss the results that were achieved, as well as how those results were achieved, during the performance period."
Musk reportedly said that his company has high standards for employees. Unlike traditional car makers, he clarified that the company could "die" if the employees do not perform well.
Through the course of the call, he reportedly leaned into the press even more, "These are ridiculous," he said, about the way the news was handled by certain outlets without naming anyone. "Any journalist (who covered the story) should be ashamed of themselves for lacking journalistic integrity."
He was also seemingly irked at the lack of context that these news stories had, specifically with regards to Tesla's place in the automotive industry as being a new upstart brand and not an established traditional automaker. He even called such outlets as being run by "journalists and editors with low integrity."
After getting fired, a former employee of Tesla was reported to have filed a lawsuit against the company for not giving proper notice as required under California's labour law. Musk did not bring this up on the call. He did, however, reportedly ended the topic by saying, "Shame" and let the weight of his statements linger with the press before moving on to company matters.