Tesla fired an employee and revoked some of his self-driving privileges after he posted videos on YouTube reviewing the company’s driverless technology while riding around Silicon Valley.
John Bernal, a data annotation specialist who began working for Elon Musk’s electric car company in August 2020, launched the “AI Addict” YouTube channel.
On Tuesday, he posted a video titled “Tesla FSD Beta San Jose Stress Test,” in which he is seen driving around downtown San Jose in his Tesla to test the company’s latest release of its “full self-driving” beta software.
Bernal told CNBC that he was given free access to Tesla’s FSD beta software, which was worth $8,000 at the time when he first joined the company.
Tesla managers, according to Bernal, told him that the YouTube channel “broke Tesla policy” and was a “conflict of interest.”
Bernal, who was hired by Tesla in 2020, started the AI Addict YouTube channel, where he posted reviews of self-driving technology.
“I worked for Tesla, assisting in the development of FSD, and I tested their software,” Bernal says as he narrates the YouTube video.
“I was fired from Tesla in February, and my YouTube [channel] was cited as the reason — despite the fact that my uploads are from my personal vehicle, off company time or property, and using software I paid for.”
Tesla has been contacted by The Washington Post for comment.
Bernal claims he had “zero improper use strikes in my vehicle” on the morning of his firing.
“My system was suspended shortly after I was fired,” Bernal said in February of last year that he started his YouTube channel to show the public what the software can do.
“This channel is meant to educate the public by showing honest reviews from experts with industry knowledge,” Bernal says.
Tesla employees who were fired in 2017 claimed they were told not to publicly criticise Musk. They claimed that the company forced them to sign agreements promising not to make public comments in exchange for two weeks of severance pay.