South Korean Celebrity Sues Tesla, Threatens to Use Celebrity Status to Hurt Company After Crash
South Korean actor Ji Chang Son is suing Tesla Motors claiming that his Model X suddenly accelerated on its own while he was parking it in his garage.
In the lawsuit, which was filed on Friday, he said the luxury Model X, Tesla’s first sport utility vehicle launched in 2015, rammed through his living room and injured him and his son, who was a passenger.
A spokesperson for Tesla told Gizmodo in an email that the actor wants a class action lawsuit, and he “threatened to use his celebrity status in Korea to hurt Tesla” unless the automaker “agreed to make a financial payment and acknowledge that the vehicle accelerated on its own.”
Tesla, founded by Elon Musk, added:
“The evidence clearly shows the vehicle was not at fault. Our policy is to stand by the evidence and not to give in to ultimatums.”
Son, who has starred in several South Korean TV shows and films and is also a singer-songwriter, posted photos of the damage to his house and car on his personal Facebook page.
“The article began to come up yesterday, and I came up with the answer that I demanded money because I was famous,” he wrote with the photos. “If the wall was concrete, not wood, I would [have died].”
The lawsuit cited seven similar cases registered to a database put together by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration involving sudden acceleration without warning.
However, the electric car company replied that the vehicle’s system “protects against pedal misapplication on multiple levels” and the software has an “Autopilot sensor suite to distinguish potential pedal misapplication events from normal cases when a driver intentionally presses the accelerator pedal. In cases of unambiguous pedal misapplication, the vehicle cuts torque to mitigate the effects of the driver’s error.”
According to Reuters, the lawsuit alleges product liability, negligence and breaches of warranty, and seeks unspecified damages. Tesla has claimed the Model X is the safest SUV ever.
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