Saleen Automotive is suing a man for opining negatively about the company on Reddit.
n unusual package was delivered to Frederic Lambert’s house—a binder full of his Reddit posts, along with a legal notice from Saleen Automotive indicating they were taking legal action against him. Lambert has been a vocal critic of the company, posting thousands of negative statements about the California-based automotive company online.
Saleen soups up stock vehicles like Mustangs, Camaros, and the Tesla Model S, turning them into “supercars”.
Lambert says he’s a small-time Tesla investor and was briefly interested in Saleen, before his research led him to the conclusion that it was a bad investment. He says he posted his findings online, and they were immediately met with criticism and backlash. He didn’t back down, however, and continued to share his opinion that the company was misleading investors, among other charges.
The final straw apparently came in the form of a Reddit post entitled “Is Saleen lying in order to sell its version of the Tesla Model S?” Saleen is using the thread as an exhibit in their case against Lambert, saying his claim that “Saleen is running something closely resembling a Ponzi scheme/pump&dump” has actually hurt the company’s stock value. But as Lambert points out, he made no such statement in that Reddit post, but left it as a comment in an entirely separate thread. He says he stands by it.
“Saleen is taking deposits from customers,” he writes, “but they don’t use the money to build cars or at least only a fraction of the money, therefore they always depends on more people giving deposits, but if they all come back wanting their cars, Saleen doesn’t have the money to build them – not unlike a Ponzi scheme.”
In a statement, Saleen founder Steve Saleen stated:
“Under Canadian law, everyone is entitled to his or her opinion and may voice same, as long as it is not done in a defamatory fashion. I understand the extent of one’s freedom of speech and of opinions, but we can no longer tolerate to be the object of such defamatory comments which are not protected by freedom of speech.”
Many Redditors have come out in support of Lambert, condemning Saleen Automotive and offering him legal advice. He has set up an IndieGoGo campaign to help cover the cost of his legal fees.
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