Did Tesla fire an employee for showing a crash caused by FSD on YouTube?

The ex-Tesla worker was reportedly laid off for sharing play-by-play footage of an FSD slip-up.
Chris Young

Always be careful what you post online.

A former Tesla employee, John Bernal, claims they were fired from the electric vehicle manufacturer because they posted YouTube videos showing Tesla's Full Self-Driving (FSD) beta, according to a report from Ars Technica.

Bernal had been posting videos showing FSD beta for about a year before he was fired and had his access to FSD cut off from his 2021 Tesla Model 3.

Former Tesla employee fired for posting videos of a minor crash

The former Tesla employee was fired shortly after posting a video on February 4 of showing a minor accident. The car was running on the FSD beta when it hit a billboard separating a car lane and bicycle lane in San Jose. In a video (viewable below) on February 7, Bernal conducted a slow-motion analysis of the incident and said "no matter how minor this accident was, it's the first FSD beta collision caught on camera that is irrefutable."

Tesla's FSD beta is a full rewrite of its previous Autopilot and Full Self-Driving (FSD) Package. The feature was first announced in October 2020 when it was described at the time by Tesla CEO Elon Musk as a "quantum leap" forward for the company's autonomous driving capabilities.

Is FSD beta really a "quantum leap" for autonomous driving?

John Bernal's job at Tesla, as an advanced driver assistance systems test operator, saw him help develop FSD and test-operate the software. His personal YouTube channel has almost 13,000 subscribers at the time of writing.

In his latest video, following his firing, Bernal claimed that he "was fired from Tesla in February with [his] YouTube being cited as the reason why — even though [his] uploads are for [his] personal vehicle, off company time or property, with software [he] paid for."

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Bernal's written separation notice didn't include a mention of his YouTube videos, according to a report by CNBC. However, he said his managers verbally told him he "broke Tesla policy". The same CNBC report says the publication go its hands on a copy of Tesla's internal social media policy and that it states that "Tesla relies on the common sense and good judgment of its employees to engage in responsible social media activity." It makes you wonder what they must think of their own CEO Elon Musk's social media output.

A leaked memo last year showed that Musk had exaggerated claims that Tesla was nearing the holy grail of autonomous driving capabilities, Level 5 autonomy. Since then, Musk has tweeted that "FSD Beta 9.2 is actually not great imo, but Autopilot/AI team is rallying to improve as fast as possible." Time will tell, but Tesla might want to update its social media policy to add a section saying "no overpromising".