Things are definitely going too far.
This is not what Sergio Rodriguez expected when he bought a brand new Ford Mustang Mach-E. The US Army veteran, who also owns a Tesla Model X, recently completed a cross-country road trip in his new EV and loved every moment. Unfortunately, the way he's being treated on social media by a certain group of people has taken the edge of his positive Mach-E experience.
The Detroit Free Press, which previously reported on Rodriguez's trip, has since learned from him and another Mach-E owner, Jace Craft-Miller, about death threats they're receiving from Tesla fans on Facebook and Twitter. The 87,500-member strong Tesla Owner Worldwide private Facebook group, in particular, has been a source of disturbing content. One member posted Rodriguez's positive Mach-E review. Vicious messages quickly followed.
"One was, like, 'I hope the car loses control and crashes.' Or 'The car is going to catch fire when you're driving it,'" Rodriguez said. "I took that as a threat. For you to have any kind of ill will on anybody, why would you say that? Then someone privately messaged me, 'You're full of s*** and I know what your Tesla looks like. If I see it…' That private message on Facebook was more threatening."
And then someone in the group tagged Rodriguez, alerting him to even more angry comments. "Before I knew it, about 65% of the comments were just bashing me," he said. "Part of me wants to get rid of my Tesla just not to have the association. A couple here and there, OK. But folks are commenting and saying disgusting things. 'You let big oil buy you?' and 'How much are people paying you?'
"If that's what's associated with being a Tesla owner, why do I want to be part of that group? It's not cool." Rodriguez has since reached out to Ford's product communication manager, Mike Levine, informing him of the online harassment. Sadly, Levine can relate. He's also been targeted on social media for defending the Mach-E, which is part of his job description. The attacks against owners have increased ever since it was reported the Mach-E is luring away Tesla customers.
The good news is the threatening posts have been removed on Facebook after Rodriguez reported them, but the aggressive and cult-like dedication to Tesla and Elon Musk remains. It may be a small minority of Tesla fanboys, but they're hurting the reputation of the very carmaker they're violently defending.