Elon Musk told overworked staff they weren't allowed to complain because "I can be on my own private island with naked supermodels, drinking mai tais – but I'm not", according to one of the many tales in a new book.
The chief executive of Tesla and SpaceX has spent years chasing his dream of building a commercially affordable electric car.
The mission has grown into a multibillion-dollar company but staff reportedly have had to deal with 'outbursts and on-the-spot firings', according to Tim Higgin's new book, Power Play: Tesla, Elon Musk and the Bet of the Century.
50-year-old Musk who has previously come under fire for his communication with employees, allegedly made the "private island with naked supermodels" remark in 2016 when workers were in "revolt" at having to work weekends at short notice.
“I’m in the factory working my ass off, so I don’t want to hear about how hard everyone else in the factory works,” Musk shouted at an executive who had reportedly argued the employees' case.
He also allegedly told staff to “get that guy the f*** out of here” after clashing with a car dealership lobbyist, author Tim Higgins, reports.
The book states that the conflicts at Tesla were part of Musk's "relentless drive" to create an affordable electric car – this reportedly led to him pulling all-nighters, doing interviews in clothes he had worn for three days, and even sleeping on the factory floor.
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Higgins said that after problems with the production of Tesla's Model 3 in 2018, Musk “summoned to a conference room a group of engineers who were focused on making the assembly line work".
He then "stormed in and proceeded to tell them all that their work was ‘complete shit’. He ordered each person to go around the room and tell him ‘who the f you are and what the f you’re doing to fix my goddamn line'."
The aggression reportedly forced staff to monitor Musk's personal life so they could "anticipate" the fluctuating moods, the author writes.
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Musk has six children by two women and is currently dating musician Grimes – the pair have a baby boy named X AE A-Xii, properly pronounced “X Ash A-12”.
The billionaire inventor was in a relationship with actress Amber Heard in 2016, previously married to Johnny Depp.
Musk was allegedly so infatuated with the actress that he would fly to Australia, where she was filming, just to spend a few hours in her company, the book claims.
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Higgins also states that he would fire staff on a whim.
In 2007, Musk reportedly instructed Martin Eberhard, the co-founder of Tesla, to “fire all of them. Every one of them” after growing enraged with his Detroit team.
Eberhard didn't follow the demands and was later pushed out himself.
On social media, Musk has denied many of the claims in Power Play, writing: “Higgins managed to make his book both false and boring.”
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