Just last week two Reno Gazette-Journal staffers were arrested after allegedly sneaking onto the grounds of Tesla’s Nevada Gigafactory and tangling with corporate security. Tesla said the journalists attacked their guards as they tried to escape, but an attorney from their paper, not surprisingly, has a different side of the story.

Veteran RGJ photographer Andy Barron was arrested on October 9th for “battery with a deadly weapon” over the incident. But this week the newspaper’s attorney Scott Glogovac responded to Tesla with his own letter on Monday, which reads: “This portrayal is scandalous and could not be further from the truth.”

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According to the paper’s latest story, Barron’s story is actually pretty opposite to Tesla’s: “the security guards rammed the RGJ’s vehicle with an ATV, smashed the driver’s side window with a rock and cut Barron from his seat belt before dragging him out of the vehicle and shoving him to the ground.”

The Reno Gazette-Journal is apparently considering “both criminal and civil claims” against Tesla. Their attorney maintains that Barron and a colleague named Jason Hidalgo were on ““publicly accessible” land when they were confronted by Tesla’s security staff, accused of trespassing, and told to surrender their camera equipment. Tesla says the reporters ignored “No Trespassing” signs and that their own staff responded to resistance.

But Glogovac has a pretty vivid account from the reporter’s perspective and it sounds more like these photographers got roughed up by mafia goons.

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He claims the journalists were “peacefully walking back to their vehicle” when it was blocked off, rammed and “descended upon” by Tesla security staff who smashed the RGJ Jeep’s window with a knife, cut Barron’s seat belt, yanked him out of the driver’s seat “while taunting Barron with statements such as ‘now who’s the tough guy.’”

Glogovac is pushing hard: “If the hard hat wearing individuals were, as Tesla has represented, Tesla security guards, those individuals were the lawless renegades, not the RGJ staffers.”

For a refresher, here’s exactly what Tesla said in their official statement.

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The two RGJ employees and the Tesla employee were then met at the Jeep by a second safety manager at the Gigafactory. The two Gigafactory safety managers asked the RGJ employees to wait before departing, as security management and the Sheriff’s Department were en route to the scene. Disregarding this request, the RGJ employees entered the Jeep.

As the Tesla employee attempted to record the license plate number on the rear bumper, the driver put it in reverse and accelerated into the Tesla employee, knocking him over, causing him to sustain a blow to the left hip, an approximate 2” bleeding laceration to his right forearm, a 3” bleeding laceration to his upper arm, and scrapes on both palms.

And so far Tesla isn’t letting up either. The Reno Gazette-Journal posted this reply from an unnamed Tesla spokesperson:

“It’s disappointing to see that instead of taking appropriate action and investigating this serious incident as RGJ stated they would, RGJ has instead employed outside counsel to leak threatening letters to the press. The letter seems designed to condone repeated trespassing and attack victims for seeking to stop the attack on them. We will not stand for assaults on our employees and are working with law enforcement to investigate this incident and ensure that those responsible are brought to justice.”

The plot is thickening here, more as the story develops.


Contact the author at andrew@jalopnik.com.