Back in April, the Wall Street Journal reported that China’s Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission, which the publication described as “a high-level Community Party body that oversees the country’s legal apparatus,” accused Tesla of arrogance and of endangering Chinese consumers by selling defective products.
“Tesla has to face up to the torment of its Chinese customers,” and stop “pretending to be oblivious to hidden dangers of which it’s well aware,” the commission said in a post on social-media platform WeChat.
Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk apparently was too tongue tied to respond on Twitter. Instead, Tesla issued a statement expressing remorse and promising to do better. According to the Journal, Tesla promised to establish a unit focused on customer satisfaction. The Journal also reported that Tesla said it “obeys” decisions of government departments, respects consumers, and actively cooperates with all investigations.
Tesla these days is in hot water with various U.S. regulatory authorities. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has issued at least 10 recalls in the last four months, including four in the past few weeks, due to several risky features in Tesla’s recent software updates. According to the publication Protocol, two of Tesla’s recent updates violated federal safety standards.
Michael Brooks, acting director of The Center for Auto Safety, told Protocol that Tesla continues to “play a little fast and loose” with the safety of its features.
Tesla recently disclosed it has received a subpoena from the SEC relating to a Musk tweet asking his followers whether he should sell 10 percent of the company, which triggered a selloff. The SEC reportedly believes the tweet violated a settlement requiring that Musk’s tweets be vetted.
Tesla also has run afoul of California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing. The agency last week filed a lawsuit with racist allegations against Tesla so horrific the Los Angeles Times felt compelled to post a language warning atop the article reporting on the charges.
Here are the first five paragraphs from the Times’ article.
The N-word and other racist slurs were hurled daily at Black workers at Tesla’s California plant, delivered not just by fellow employees but also by managers and supervisors.
So says California’s civil rights agency in a lawsuit filed against the electric-vehicle maker in Alameda County Superior Court on Thursday on behalf of thousands of Black workers after a decade of complaints and a 32-month investigation.
Tesla segregated Black workers into separate areas that its employees referred to as “porch monkey stations,” “the dark side,” “the slave ship” and “the plantation,” the lawsuit alleges.
Only Black workers had to scrub floors on their hands and knees, and they were relegated to the Fremont, Calif., factory’s most difficult physical jobs, the suit states.
Graffiti — including “KKK,” “Go back to Africa,” the hangman’s noose, the Confederate Flag and “F– [N-word]” — were carved into restroom walls, workplace benches and lunch tables and were slow to be erased, the lawsuit says.
DFEH Director Kevin Kish told the Times the lawsuit is the largest ever brought by California for racial discrimination in terms of the size of the affected workforce since the agency gained prosecutorial powers in 2013.
Musk isn’t at a loss for words when it comes to criticizing U.S. authorities, and now he’s claiming victim status. He’s publicly lent support to a conspiracy theory peddled by Musk’s Twitter acolytes that Tesla’s regulatory problems stem from the company’s disruptiveness in several industries, lack of paying for ads, and lack of political contributions.
We already know what Musk thinks of the SEC. In a 2018 interview with 60 Minutes, Musk said, “I have no respect for the SEC.”
Musk so far has been silent about California’s lawsuit alleging pervasive racism at its California plant. Tesla’s official response reflects Musk’s arrogance and disdain for U.S. regulatory agencies, going so far as to question the integrity of the DFEH.
“Attacking a company like Tesla that has done so much good for California should not be the overriding aim of a state agency with prosecutorial authority,” Tesla said in a blog post.
Musk has shared his views on America’s political leaders. He called President Biden, “a damp sock puppet.” He called Senator Bernie Sanders, a champion of the Green New Deal, “a taker not a maker.” He said this about Senator Elizabeth Warren: “You remind me of when I was a kid and my friend’s angry Mom would just randomly yell at everyone for no reason.”
Musk has nothing but high praise for China’s Communist leaders.
“The economic prosperity that China has achieved is truly amazing, especially in infrastructure! I encourage people to visit and see for themselves,” Musk wrote in a Twitter post. He was responding to a tweet from China’s state-run publication that included a quote from President Xi Jinping referring to the end of “absolute poverty in China.”
Musk also praised the Chinese government for becoming “a global leader in digitalization,” an expertise that will aid the country’s stated efforts to achieve world domination.
Musk has also lauded the Chinese for being “smart” and “hard working people” while criticizing Americans for being “entitled” and “complacent.”
The Chinese are clearly a lot smarter than Americans in commanding Musk’s respect and holding him accountable. As for all Tesla has done for California, the state and its residents have done a lot more for him. California’s tougher fuel emission standards contributed to the viability of Tesla, as did the state’s considerable tax breaks. California far and away is Tesla’s biggest market; in Los Angeles, it seems one out of every two cars is a Tesla.
I’m proud I don’t own any of them. Tesla owners can pride themselves on driving a luxury taxpayer-subsidized vehicle that’s supposedly good for the environment. When I see a Tesla, I think racism and support for Communist China. On the racist perception, I’m possibly not alone. The vast majority of Tesla owners are white.
It seems Blacks know a car built by alleged racists when they see one.