Tesla fired 700 employees after performance reviews in the third quarter

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Reuters/Bobby Yip; Business Insider/Dave Smith

    Tesla CEO Elon Musk said 700 employees were fired after performance reviews. Musk condemned coverage of the terminations, saying journalists failed to provide context. Tesla has declined to say how many people were fired before Wednesday’s earnings call.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk said 700 employees were fired after performance reviews in the third quarter – the first time the company has provided clarity on the number of terminations.

Tesla confirmed in early October that it had fired employees due to poor performance, but didn’t provide context as to how many people were let go and whether some sections of the company were affected more than others. The firings occurred after Tesla laid off 204 SolarCity employees at its office in Roseville, California in August.

Tesla condemned journalists’ articles about the performance-related terminations, saying the firings only affected 2% of the 33,000-person company.

“Journalists and editors with low integrity failed to provide any context,” Musk said on the company’s third-quarter earnings call. “The actual article would have read, ‘Tesla fires 2% of employee base for performance-based reasons….’ Of course that would be a meaningless article so, of course, they forget to include that. Shame.”

Tesla representatives declined to say how many people were fired when previously asked by Business Insider. Early reports had said between 400 to 1,200 people were let go.

The firings led to some backlash at the company. Tesla workers pushing for a union at the company’s factory in Fremont, California, held a rally to protest the terminations. The United Auto Workers has filed a federal complaint alleging some workers were fired for being pro-union.