Tesla CEO Elon Musk is supposed to be saving the world and that’s all good and fine. But coupled with bad tweets and investigations and the like, Bloomberg is now reporting that an alleged confrontation between Musk and a former employee got physical.
The Tesla board investigated allegations that Musk pushed a former employee who had recently resigned, according to Bloomberg, followed him out of the office, and shouted at him as he gathered his things and left the building:
The employee told people that Musk had pushed him, an account corroborated by others with knowledge of the incident. Another person described it as a tap or light touch. In either case, the incident got the attention of Tesla’s board, which said in a statement to Bloomberg News that it reviewed the matter and compiled accounts from witnesses. The board concluded there was no “physical altercation,” though it didn’t specifically address the allegation of physical contact or verbal haranguing.
When the altercation spilled out into the parking lot, Musk threatened to unleash a nuclear arsenal on the poor unnamed person:
Outside, Musk again confronted him and continued to berate him, warning the employee that if he harmed Tesla, “I will nuke you,” according to one of the people with direct knowledge of the incident. Other people said the warning was meant to keep the employee quiet about what had transpired that day.
Yeesh. The Bloomberg story continues with some pretty devastating hits, including allegations from anonymous former employees who say they remain afraid of Musk, even after they’ve left the company, and that Musk once fired an employee on a conference call featuring “dozens of Tesla employees” before letting the person know that they’d been fired privately.
We reached out to Tesla for comment on the Bloomberg report, and the company denied any physical altercation took place in a statement from a company spokesperson.
“Elon did exit an employee at our Fremont delivery center last year due to concerns about his performance, however there was no physical altercation whatsoever,” the statement said. “Those reports are simply untrue as confirmed by numerous people that observed the incident first-hand.”
The spokesperson also offered an additional statement from Tesla’s board:
It is the Board’s responsibility to take seriously any potential issues that come to our attention involving senior executives, no matter how small or large. In this instance we conducted a thorough review, which proved that there was never a physical altercation, a fact confirmed by multiple people who were present at the time.
The spokesperson did not comment on the additional workplace atmosphere allegations.
My thoughts are with the Tesla human resources department.