After consulting his cadre of shady private investigators, Musk hired two security professionals to hunt down the whistleblower and put the squeeze on them. They didn't have to work very hard, though. When the duo consulted the company's security logs, only one employee had recently accessed the data necessary to come up with that number. That employee was Martin Tripp -- an assembly line worker who had written to Musk several times complaining about how the Gigafactory (ugghh) was a messy goddamn nightmare. To his credit, Tripp didn't deny his whistleblowing and wholly admitted it. He was subsequently fired (duh), and the world went back to normal because who gives a shit that hard? Elon Musk.
Soon enough, Musk started spreading conspiracies about how Tripp had shared the data not just with BI, but with, "Unknown third parties [who] want Tesla to die." (Where do we sign up?) Musk then sued Tripp for $167 million, alleging that he'd stolen trade secrets by leaking that data, which was a straight-up lie because it's no secret that Musk is a lousy manager. The lawsuit was filed, and the world went back to normal because who gives a shi-- Elon Musk; okay, the answer to this question is always Elon Musk.
On the day Tesla publicly announced they were suing Tripp, Tripp was contacted by his local sheriff's department. Why? Because someone at Tesla had issued a BOLO warning workers and local residents that Tripp was armed, dangerous, and about to shoot up the Gigafactory.
Later that day, when police picked up Tripp, he was sobbing, depressed, and very much unarmed. The sheriff tossed out the tip figuring that someone, somewhere had gotten their wires crossed, and contacted Tesla to give them the 4-1-1. Regardless, Tesla started telling journalists how they, "Received a phone call [...] telling us that Mr. Tripp would be coming to the Gigafactory to 'shoot the place up,'" despite that being provably untrue.
In a completely unrelated tangent, this is precisely how swatting works -- which, if you don't know, is when assholes call in police reports about people they don't like in the hope that when the SWAT team bursts through their door. Hence, "swatted." We just thought that was interesting. Words are fun!
After his ordeal, Tripp not only sued Tesla alleging slander but also filed a formal whistleblower complaint with the Securities and Exchange Commission over his actions and his subsequent harassment by Musk and Tesla. On the plus side, though, at least he didn't get called a "pedo." Is that a win? It feels like it, although it probably shouldn't.
Adam Wears is (allegedly) a comedy writer. Want to read other articles he's written for Cracked? Click here! Want to follow him on Twitter? Click here! Want to check out his website? Click here!
Top image: Steve Jurvetson/flickr