Tesla has dissolved its PR department — the first time an automaker has done so, according to a report.
Essentially every employee who used to work in the electric car maker's PR office has either moved to a different position within Tesla or left the company, reports Electrek, an electric vehicle industry blog. The outlet said it confirmed the department dissolution "at the highest level at Tesla."
The once super-active PR department has gone radio silent in recent months. Its main channel for product promotion is CEO Elon Musk's Twitter account, which has more than 39 million followers.
The last person in charge of communications at Tesla, Keely Sulprizio, left the company in December 2019 and joined Impossible Foods this spring, leaving the media with no formal person of contact. Other key staffers left this year, including senior global communications manager Danielle Meister, who joined WhatsApp in April.
Tesla's media relations teams for its European and Asian markets have been spared from the chopping block, according to the report.
Musk has been vocal about his dissatisfaction with the press, claiming the media is biased about almost everything and "publish only enough to sugarcoat the lie," which "is why the public no longer respects them," according to a May 2018 tweet.
The billionaire entrepreneur also complained about coverage of Tesla's September Battery Day event in a New York Times interview, calling reports "a sad reflection of [journalists’] understanding," despite reporters not being able to ask questions after the presentation.
PRWeek reached out to Tesla to try to verify the report, but like other journalists, did not receive a response.