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Tesla gets testy over story about a new harassment lawsuit

Tesla has once again found itself facing an onslaught of news stories about discrimination lawsuits filed against the company.

The wave began earlier this week, when The Mercury News reported that three black former Tesla factory employees had filed a lawsuit against the company, alleging racial discrimination. Then, on Thursday, The Guardian reported that another ex-factory employee filed a lawsuit against the company alleging he was harassed for being gay and the company did little to protect him.

The men in the first lawsuit — Owen Diaz, Demetric Diaz, and Lamar Patterson — allege other employees used racial slurs to harass them. When they complained about the alleged racism, the men say they were demeaned and faced threats to their employment.

The man identified in The Guardian’s report, Jorge Ferro, said a supervisor threatened him for being gay. Ferro was allegedly forced to change jobs before a manager falsely claimed Ferro was injured and had to be sent home. Ferro was fired soon after.

Tesla didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment, but a company spokesperson did deny the allegations of racial discrimination to The Mercury News, and Tesla spokesperson Dave Arnold sent a vitriolic statement to The Guardian in response to its story.

He accused The Guardian of writing about Tesla only to “generate clicks,” and got a bit Trumpian in his defense of the company.

“There is no company on Earth with a better track record than Tesla, as they would have to have fewer than zero cases where an independent judge or jury has found a genuine case of discrimination,” he wrote. “This is physically impossible.”

Arnold did make clear that Ferro and the manager who allegedly harassed him are contract employees.

“This is physically impossible”

Tesla has previously run into allegations of sexual harassment. A former company engineer, AJ Vandermeyden, accused the company of firing her in retaliation after she brought attention to the alleged harassment.

In his statement to The Guardian, Arnold wrote that “it is not humanly possible to stop all bad conduct” at a company of Tesla’s size.

It seems that news outlets don’t believe it’s possible to stop reporting on a company of Tesla’s size, either.

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