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Tesla Employee Fired for YouTube Tech Reviews

He was working on the Autopilot program.

Whenever a Tesla employee gets fired, it seems to make headlines. In this instance, John Bernal, a former Autopilot employee at Tesla, was fired last month because of video reviews he conducted on his YouTube channel.

In a video of his channel, AI Addict, Bernal revealed, “I was fired from Tesla in February with my YouTube being cited as the reason why.” He adds uploads were off company time or property with software he paid for. 

On his channel, Bernal drives in his personally owned 2021 Tesla Model 3 using Tesla’s newest released versions of its Full Self-Driving Beta software. However, Tesla has since cut off his access to the FSD Beta system in his vehicle, but he still has Full Self-Driving. 

The firing followed a video where Bernal’s drive is disrupted by the car knocking over a bollard with the FSD Beta operating. Bernal said managers informed him that he “broke Tesla policy” and his channel was a “conflict of interest.”

It is possible Tesla took exception to a portion of his channel that CNBC reports featured about 10 videos that show flaws in FSD Beta. In one of the videos, the vehicle experienced several disengagements and Bernal needed to take over and steer manually to avoid danger. 

Approximately 12 minutes into this video from March 2021, the Tesla FSD Beta system starts to roll into an intersection and Bernal’s Model 3 narrowly avoids hitting a vehicle crossing in front of him. 

A current Tesla employee provided a copy of the company’s social media policy to CNBC. It states, “Tesla relies on the common sense and good judgment of its employees to engage in responsible social media activity.” But it never references criticism of the company’s products in public and while it mentions social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, it never specifically mentions YouTube. 

Bernal’s defense was he never unveiled anything in the videos Tesla had not released to the public. 

Tesla has struggled to keep a negative light off its Full Self-Driving feature. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is overseeing a variety of recalls, one of which includes FSD being programmed to run stop signs at slow speeds.

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