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Elon Musk said Tesla fired 700 people because they didn’t meet the company’s high standards

Musk said it was not because they “believe in being mean.” He added that journalists should be ashamed of themselves for how they wrote about the Tesla firings.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk onstage in front of audience members holding up phones to record him
Tesla CEO Elon Musk
Mark Brake / Getty
Rani Molla is a senior correspondent at Vox and has been focusing her reporting on the future of work. She has covered business and technology for more than a decade — often in charts — including at Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal.

Elon Musk disclosed in today’s quarterly earnings call that Tesla fired 700 people last month, or 2 percent of the company’s 33,000 employees.

He said they didn’t meet the company’s high standards and that Tesla is one of many companies that fire employees based on regular performance reviews.

The Tesla CEO blamed the headlines about the firings on “journalists and editors without integrity” who didn’t provide context.

"Any journalists who've written articles to this effect [about the firings] should be ashamed of themselves," Musk said.

The firings were related to performance issues, and he considered the number of people affected to be small. This is the first time the number of employees fired has been confirmed.

“Our standards are high not because we believe in being mean to people, they're high because if they aren’t high we’d die,” Musk said.

Tesla posted a record net loss of $619 million in its earnings release today.

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