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Seeking to push forward a class-action lawsuit against Tesla, 240 Black workers at the electric car company’s San Francisco Bay Area plant say they face an environment of rampant racism with no accountability. The accusations include racial slurs from other workers, racist graffiti and supervisors who allegedly compared the plant to a slave plantation.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk continues to court far-right extremist views and media pundits like former Fox News host and white nationalist Tucker Carlson. Meanwhile, hundreds of Black Tesla workers are sounding the alarm on racism they face at a company owned and operated by a man whose family gained wealth in apartheid South Africa.
Filed in Alameda County Superior Court on Monday, workers and contractors working on the production floor of the Fremont plant, roughly 40 miles from San Francisco, estimate the lawsuit could involve up to 6,000 workers.
Notably, Black Americans have always been influential to the growth of innovations in the automobile industry long before Elon Musk bought his way into Tesla. Automatic gear shift inventor Richard Spikes, modern-day traffic light inventor Garret Morgan, and early car company owners C.R. Patterson and his sons represent early Black pioneers who helped revolutionize the industry.
Decades later, Black automobile workers at Tesla face rampant racial abuse under the leadership of the second richest man in the world, Elon Musk.
Does Tesla allow a culture of runaway racism?
The testimonies of racist abuse stem from a 2017 lawsuit brought by former Tesla contractor Marcus Vaughn, whose complaints of racial slurs allegedly went ignored.
Supervisors refused to conduct an investigation, and Vaughn was fired due to not keeping a “positive attitude,” according to his lawyer.
Yet the most recent lawsuit is just the tip of the iceberg. Last year California regulators sued Tesla, accusing the company of ignoring complaints and claiming Musk told workers to be “thick-skinned” about racial abuse.
As Elon Musk appears more concerned with making fun of trans people and “liberal indoctrination,” it’s unclear how much longer he can ignore the mounting legal battle against his company.