Tesla CEO Elon Musk has agreed to pay $10,000 to settle a defamation lawsuit by Randeep Hothi, a Tesla critic who gained a significant following on Twitter by calling out the company’s production issues with its Model 3 sedan in 2018.
Musk had accused Hothi of stalking and harassing Tesla employees, which led to a defamation lawsuit filed by Hothi. The settlement was reached in March 2023, and Hothi has stated that the settlement helps to clear his name.
Hothi, who monitored Tesla’s production output near its Fremont factory, used cameras and drones for his research, and his work caught the attention of several hedge funds. In 2019, Tesla sought a restraining order against Hothi for claims of stalking and harassment.
Though Tesla dropped its court complaint, Hothi filed a defamation suit against Musk, accusing him of triggering an online hate campaign. Musk had made public criticism of Hothi, which led to the lawsuit. However, the terms of the settlement have not been disclosed.
This case highlights the risks that social media and public statements can have on individuals and businesses, even leading to defamation lawsuits. The settlement marks the end of the legal battle between Hothi and Musk, bringing closure to a long-standing dispute.