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Musk pays Sikh American to settle defamation suit

The defamation claim involved Elon Musk's slanderous remarks against Hothi with false claims that he had threatened the company's workers.

Image - Randeep Hoti 

Tesla CEO Elon Musk resolved a defamation suit filed against him by Sikh american, Randeep Hothi, an outspoken critic and independent researcher who produced original investigative work throwing doubt on several of Tesla's assertions regarding its technological capabilities, production capacity, and profitability.

Hothi filed the lawsuit in 2019 accusing the CEO of defaming him in an email to a reporter, for his criticism of Tesla. The firm in 2019 had accused Hothi of harassing and injuring their employees but dropped the case eventually.

According to Hothi's lawyer, Musk in the email to the reporter accused  Hothi of "actively harassing" and "almost killing[ing]" Tesla employees. However, following a long legal battle, Musk offered to settle the matter in March 2023 and Hothi accepted his settlement offer.

"I brought this case to defend my work, clear my name, and send a message," said Hothi in an official statement. "I believe I've accomplished that, thanks in no small part to Musk, whose own behaviour over the last year has highlighted the need to scrutinize his every word and deed. This case was about taking a stand, not seeking fame or money. I feel vindicated."

D. Gill Sperlein, one of Hothi's lawyers, said: "Last year, Musk famously promised that he would never 'settle an unjust case.' Yet, he has asked Mr. Hothi to accommodate him. We welcome Musk's belated acknowledgment that this case was just." Sperlein, who has represented Hothi since 2019, added: "Freedom of speech is undermined when the rich and powerful improperly act to silence and intimidate their critics."