Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, was reportedly accused of harassing and soliciting a SpaceX flight attendant sexually, according to a story from May. The allegations against Musk surfaced just a few months after six female Tesla manufacturing employees filed lawsuits against the firm in the autumn of 2021, claiming widespread sexual harassment at the workplace that caused many of the workers to lose their jobs. A few of these women spoke to Rolling Stone this week about how pervasive the sexism was in the company’s factories.
The women claim that male factory employees often “accidentally” touched them at their cramped workstations while making remarks about their bodies, pursuing them sexually, and rating their “fuckability” in a number of instances. Cat-calling coworkers were everywhere as they made their way from the parking lot to the facility.
One lady said she was followed from the workplace to her vehicle by a drunk male coworker who was asking her for a ride in the same parking spot where a Tesla employee had camped out and shot a coworker.
Overall, the women argue that male factory employees treated the area like a frat party and that Tesla’s managers and HR department did little to stop them, promoted the harassment, or sometimes attempted to assist, but were unable to end a widespread culture of harassment on their own.
Men in the workplace started dubbing everything “sexy” around 2017, according to Eden Mederos, the office concierge at the service center, who spoke to Rolling Stone about the Model 3’s launch and the completion of Musk’s “S3XY” line, a moniker he took great satisfaction in.
She asserts that if confronted with the unsettling behavior, “they would answer, ‘Well, [Musk] says it, so why can’t we say any of this stuff?’” Alisa Blickman, a manufacturing worker who was covered up, said that during her orientation last autumn, she saw males wearing “S3XY” shirts continually sexualizing Teslas with statements such, “Teslas are so hot” and “These are some sexy automobiles.” Blickman said that after that, she was presented with a sexual harassment education film, many of which included instances of women bothering males.
There are workers at that plant who worship Musk, according to Blickman. They understand that they can if he speaks like that. One lady, Jessica Barraza, claims in the complaint that a guy shoved his leg between hers and brushed his crotch on her as she scanned her badge to enter the plant.
After seeing sexual harassment training films, male colleagues, according to Mederos, would grab her arm and leg and jokingly claim, “Oh, no, I’m sexually assaulting you.” Blickman said that her male coworkers often touched her arms and legs at their workstations and that her male boss massaged her lower back without her permission.
Alize Brown, a manufacturing worker who was nursing a baby when she initially began working there, claims that coworkers at her workstation routinely approached her and dubbed her a “cow” and made remarks about her “milking.” Brown said that one of her coworkers often followed and harassed her and that her supervisor was of little assistance.
She finally suffered the consequences of her efforts to defend herself: Brown discovered she had been dismissed when her badge wouldn’t let her into the workplace one morning because she had been gone from her job for an excessive amount of time. Brown told Rolling Stone, “I was simply trying to get away from the individuals who were pestering me. I urged them to relocate either me or them. They never gave a damn. Instead, I was let go.
Supervisors that are either unhelpful or openly exploitative appear to be a recurrent trend. I just thought you were hot as hell and wanted to kick it… Barraza claims she once got a text from her boss that stated, “you know I always had a thing on yo lovely ass. In addition to the spooky lower-back massages, Blickman reportedly told the magazine that one time, her boss approached her from behind and said, “I hear you don’t like to scream loud enough.”
The ladies described enduring a variety of daily humiliations. A male technician told Mederos directly, “I’ve never seen a white girl with an ass like that,” after it was spread that she was deaf. When given the girl’s age, the technician reportedly added, “Those t*** are not 12,” according to Mederos, and also remarked on the physique of a 12-year-old visitor to the Tesla facility.
Dinosaur sculptures that Mederos brought to adorn her workstation were right away reconfigured into sexual poses. She said that she no longer consumed meals at work because at least one male coworker would make sex gestures and inquire, “How much more can you cram into your mouth?” whenever she did.
Musk often boasts about being “hands-on” at his business; at one point, he even claimed to have “lived” in one of his facilities. Despite the fact that he has never publicly addressed the cases (seven known lawsuits against Tesla and one against SpaceX) or shown any awareness of the widespread sexual harassment at his firms, it is his duty to be aware of these practices.
Musk’s conduct on Twitter and his ongoing fascination with the number “69” were mentioned by the women who talked with Rolling Stone “(the 51-year-old guy) and his proposal for University, claiming that he ought to be held responsible for the pervasive sexism within his firm.
Uncannily similar to several of the actions reported by the female manufacturing employees who are suing Tesla include requesting a flight attendant for an erotic massage in return for a horse and touching the woman’s leg.
After a separate case in which a Black factory worker claimed there was widespread usage of the n-word at the plant, a jury held the corporation responsibly, and the current sexual harassment action was filed. In a lawsuit filed earlier this year, 15 Tesla employees claimed that white managers often welcomed Black employees with remarks like “Welcome to the plantation” and gave them the most physically demanding jobs.
In a statement in response to the latter case, Tesla’s legal team insisted that race had no bearing on any of the company’s job assignments, promotions, wages, or disciplinary actions. Discrimination is forbidden at Tesla in all forms. The latter case is still pending.
After almost all of the company’s communications team left in 2020, Tesla eliminated its PR division; it seems that the division was never restaffed. The business asserts in court documents that it “has always and continues to rigorously ban its workers from participating in any type of sexual harassment” in response to the sexual harassment complaints.
Companies like Tesla often drag out legal proceedings until complainants give up, accept settlement offers, or agree to sign NDAs. According to Rolling Stone, the trial for the ongoing sexual harassment claim may not take place until 2024.
Even though the lawsuit was first filed about a year ago, Tesla’s attorneys are still delaying action on their request to have the case dismissed. Throughout that year, the “69 “Musk’s memes have been frequent, and they undoubtedly motivate the factory’s male workers to continue working hard.