- There’s some serious drama between Tesla CEO Elon Musk and a former employee the company is suing for leaking information.
- The billionaire has accused Martin Tripp of sabotage and is suing the former staffer for passing information about raw-material waste to Business Insider.
- In an explosive email exchange on the day the lawsuit was filed, Musk reportedly called Tripp a “horrible human being.”
- Tripp says he is being made a “scapegoat” for telling the truth.
There’s some serious drama right now between Tesla CEO Elon Musk and an employee the company is suing for leaking information to Business Insider.
Emails seen by Business Insider show Musk and former Tesla technician Martin Tripp had an explosive exchange this week, with Musk accusing his former employee of being a “horrible human being.” The emails were sent to Business Insider and also reported by The Guardian, the BBC, and The Washington Post.
The exchange took place on Wednesday, when Tesla filed a lawsuit against Tripp for hacking and leaking “confidential and trade secret information” to third parties.
Tripp, who calls himself a “whistleblower,” initiated the conversation and accused Musk of telling lies to the public and investors. The tense conversation escalated quickly and Musk said Tripp was a “horrible human being.” Here’s the full exchange:
Tripp: “Don’t worry, you have what’s coming to you for the lies you have told to the public and investors.”
Musk: “Threatening me only makes it worse for you”
Tripp: “I never made a threat. I simply told you that you have what’s coming. Thank you for this gift!!!!”
Musk: “You should ashamed of yourself for framing other people. You’re a horrible human being.”
Tripp: “I NEVER ‘framed’ anyone else or even insinuated anyone else as being involved in my production of documents of your MILLIONS OF DOLLARS OF WASTE, Safety concerns, lying to investors/the WORLD. Putting cars on the road with safety issues is being a horrible human being!”
Musk: “There are literally injuries[sic] with Model 3. It is by far the safest car in the world for any midsize vehicle. And of course a company with billions of dollars in product is going to have millions of dollars in scrap. This is not news.
“However, betraying your word of honor, breaking the deal you had when Tesla gave you a job and framing your colleagues are wrong and some come with legal penalties. So it goes. Be well.”
The exchange came as Tripp admitted on Wednesday to being a source for a story by Business Insider reporter Linette Lopez about Tesla blowing through raw material and cash to make the Model 3.
Business Insider’s original story included the allegation that Tesla cars were manufactured with punctured batteries. Business Insider has contacted Tesla for comment.
Musk told The Guardian that emails were “unwise” on his part. “He initiated the email exchange this morning at 8.57am. I certainly would not have initiated contact, nor would I even know his personal email address, and it was probably unwise for me to have responded,” he said in an email.
In an interview with The Guardian, Tripp protested his innocence, saying he did not hack Tesla for information because he does not know how to code. “I’m a scapegoat because I provided information that is absolutely true,” he said.