Karl Hansen, who first exposed Tesla’s supposed covering up and spying on its employees back in 2018, appeared on the TC’s Chartcast podcast, where he shared further details on the theft that was happening in the factory and management’s efforts to cover it up.
In addition, Hansen also talks about his investigation into a possible drug cartel operation inside the Gigafactory – Tesla’s huge battery plant in Nevada – as well how his access to the company’s internal data systems became restricted the more further he tried to investigate the drug operation.
Karl Hansen first made news in 2018 when he filed a whistleblower complaint against Tesla with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). At the time, he was the second ex-Tesla employee to come forward, following former technician Martin Tripp.
In his whistleblower filing, Hansen made several serious accusations against Tesla. Chief among these was that $37 million worth of copper and other raw materials had been stolen from the Nevada Gigafactory during the first half of 2018 alone – thefts that were never reported to Tesla shareholders.
He also accused the company of spying on their employees. Specifically, he stated that Tesla was involved in wiretapping and hacking employees’ cellphones and computers, respectively.
On top of this, Hansen also shares how a tip from the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) led him to discover evidence of a widespread drug cartel operation in the Gigafactory – something the company failed to disclose to both local law enforcement and the DEA even after it was uncovered.
Finally, he also accused the company of retaliating against him for raising the issues internally, culminating in his termination in July of 2018.
In the podcast, Hansen goes into further detail on his experiences working as part of security at Tesla, as well as on what happened after he left the company and turned whistleblower. He detailed how Musk himself had hired a team of former Uber security experts, all reporting directly to him, and hacked the devices of several employees. These included the personal phone of Martin Tripp, the Tesla-employee who turned whistleblower before Hansen.
In addition, Hansen also discussed his experiences after turning whistleblower himself. He recalls how he was personally confronted by Musk after he filed his own complaint with the SEC.
Beyond that, he also goes on about how he had been collaborating with the Federal Bureau of Investigation for several months after leaving Tesla, only to find out that the investigation had been killed despite it turning up significant evidence of probable cause.
Tesla and Musk’s treatment of Hansen reflects how the company and its multi-billionaire owner have approached whistleblowers who tried to expose wrongdoings at the former’s Gigafactory. (Related: Now you can’t even criticize ELECTRIC CARS on YouTube without getting banned.)
When Tripp, a former Tesla engineer, first leaked details on how Tesla was scrapping or reworking up to 40 percent of the raw materials at the Gigafactory, Musk immediately went on the attack. In a staff memo, Musk accused Tripp of engaging in “extensive and damaging sabotage,” implying that the latter had shared the data not only with the press but also with “unknown third parties.”
At the same time, Tesla’s PR department had spread rumors about Tripp, claiming that he was homicidal. This culminated on June 20, 2019 – the same day the company sued Tripp for $120 million – when Tripp heard a tip from the Story County, NV, sheriff’s department that Tesla’s security had tipped off the police, claiming that he was planning a mass shooting at the Gigafactory.
In addition to Tripp, Tesla also retaliated aginst whistleblowers following an April 2019 investigation by the Centre for Investigative Reporting (CIR) into Tesla workplace safety. The CIR report claimed that Tesla had under-reported injuries, ostensibly to improve its safety statistics.
One of the report’s sources later claimed that, shortly after the investigation, a complaint against her was lodged to the relevant Medical Board and that an anonymous call was placed to state Child Protection Services claiming she neglected her children.
Meanwhile, in June of 2019, a lawsuit was filed in a Nevada District Court in which the plaintiff, a former Tesla employee, alleged that sexual assault had taken place on company premises and that these issues were escalated to no avail. In the suit, the plaintiff alleges that they were terminated the day after they had sent a text to Musk explaining what had happened to them at the workplace.
These and other stories paint a disturbing picture of the culture inside Tesla. It illustrates a company where any form of bad news is frowned upon, and those who bear it are punished severely.
For more on Elon Musk and his increasingly tyrannical treatment of his employees, follow ElonMuskWatch.com.