Martin Tripp says he’s a whistle-blower whose only interests were public safety. Tesla says he hacked the company’s manufacturing operating systems, leaked information, and tried to frame his colleagues for it. The company filed a lawsuit against Tripp on Wednesday for the alleged hacking and also for “making ‘false claims to the media about the information he stole,’ and specifically referenced claims about punctured battery cells, excess scrap material and manufacturing delays,” The Guardian reports.
Tripp claims all of this is false and that he never hacked anything, saying he doesn’t even possess the coding skills that would require. Musk told The Guardian the company had received a call this week that Tripp “was going to come back and shoot people” at the factory. (Authorities are still investigating the threat’s origin, but declared that the factory was in no danger on Thursday.) After Tripp parted ways with the company, he and Musk engaged in a heated email exchange. “Don’t worry, you have what’s coming to you for the lies you have told to the public and investors,” Tripp wrote. “Threatening me only makes it worse for you,” Musk replied. Musk said Tripp started the email conversation. “I’m a scapegoat because I provided information that is absolutely true,” Tripp told The Guardian.
Earlier this month, Tesla laid off 9 percent of its employees. This translated to over 3,000 jobs. Musk said the thinning was to help the company “reduce costs and become profitable.”