Musk Pays $10,000 to End Defamation Feud with Tesla Critic

Musk Pays $10,000 to End Defamation Feud with Tesla Critic

Table of Content

In this article, we’ll examine the details behind Elon Musk’s decision to settle a defamation lawsuit filed by Tesla critic Randeep Hothi for a mere $10,000.

Key Takeaways:

  • Randeep Hothi sued Elon Musk over defamatory comments.
  • Hothi accepted the $10,000 settlement offer from Musk.
  • Hothi and Tesla have a history of disagreements.
  • Hothi feels vindicated after the settlement.
  • The case was initially scheduled for trial this year.

The Defamation Lawsuit

Elon Musk, Tesla’s CEO, recently agreed to pay Randeep Hothi $10,000 to settle a defamation lawsuit. 

Hothi, a critic of the electric carmaker, accused Musk of defaming him in an email to Aaron Greenspan, who runs the legal information initiative PlainSite. 

Musk had alleged that Hothi was violent toward Tesla employees, a claim that led to Hothi filing the lawsuit in 2020. 

Hothi accepted the settlement offer, which is considerably lower than what is typically seen in defamation cases, stating that his primary goal was to take a stand and clear his name rather than seeking fame or money.

A History of Disputes Between Hothi and Tesla

Randeep Hothi and Tesla have had several disagreements over the years. 

Hothi gained notoriety for taking pictures of Tesla vehicles at their facility, which led to tensions between him and the company. 

On one occasion in 2019, Hothi encountered a Tesla security guard, after which Tesla filed a restraining order against him, accusing him of endangering employees by driving close to them. 

Hothi vehemently denied the allegations, stating that his car did not hit any Tesla employee.

Hothi’s Twitter Presence as “Skabooshka”

Randeep Hothi’s critique of Tesla extended to social media, where he gained a following on Twitter under the handle “Skabooshka.” 

He called out the company for its rocky production of the Model 3 sedan in 2018 and monitored Tesla’s factory in Fremont, where he grew up, using cameras and drones to observe production output. 

His research caught the attention of several hedge funds, turning him into somewhat of a hero for short sellers who bet against Tesla’s stock.

The Restraining Order Saga

Back in 2019, Tesla tried to get a court order to keep Hothi away. Tesla said Hothi was bothering their workers and watching their factory. 

They also said he drove his car dangerously close to a Model 3 and hurt a security guard in a hit-and-run on Tesla’s property. 

Hothi said he didn’t do these things, and Tesla later stopped trying to get the court order. 

But in 2020, Hothi said Musk’s mean comments about him caused people to say terrible things about him online, like that he was a liar, murderer, terrorist, and crazy person. 

He filed a lawsuit saying this was defamation.

Hothi’s Goal to Clear His Name

With the settlement of the defamation lawsuit, Randeep Hothi aimed to clear his name and put an end to the hate campaign against him. 

He stated that the settlement achieved his goal, and he tweeted about feeling vindicated by the outcome. Hothi stated that Musk approached them in March 2023 and asked to settle.

Hothi feels that their work has been proven correct and has decided to accommodate Musk’s request for a small amount of $10,000. 

Hothi now joins the others who are witnessing Musk’s public breakdown as it happens.

Neither Musk nor his lawyers, Adam Cashman and Adam Mehes, responded to requests for comment on the settlement. 

According to a statement from Gil Sperlein, who is one of Hothi’s lawyers, their client has agreed to resolve the case by accepting Musk’s proposal. 

A court filing on Monday indicated that Hothi was dropping the lawsuit, but the terms of the settlement were not disclosed.

The lawsuit was initially set to be tried in Hayward, California’s Alameda County Superior Court sometime this year. 

However, with the settlement now in place, the legal battle between Hothi and Musk has come to an end.

The settlement was first reported by the Los Angeles Times, and the story has since gained significant attention in the media.


Elon Musk’s decision to settle the defamation lawsuit with Tesla critic Randeep Hothi for $10,000 marks the end of a contentious legal battle. 

With the disputes between Hothi and Tesla now resolved, Hothi has expressed his satisfaction with the outcome, stating that he feels vindicated and can move on with his life. 

The case serves as a reminder of the challenges faced by public figures and critics in the digital age, where social media can amplify disputes and turn them into high-profile legal battles.


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Judith Harvey is a seasoned finance editor with over two decades of experience in the financial journalism industry. Her analytical skills and keen insight into market trends quickly made her a sought-after expert in financial reporting.