Rich Rebuilds is a very popular YouTube channel we’ve discussed before. Rebuilding salvaged cars is a challenge as-is, but rebuilding salvaged Teslas is, well, an entirely different kind of fish. Much like Apple, Tesla is fiercely protective of information on its vehicles and access to parts is limited, in addition to the fact that servicing a Tesla with a non-Tesla mechanic voids warranty.
While Rich’s work was not sanctioned by Tesla, the two were able to co-exist for a long time. With his not-really-legal rebuilds, Rich promoted Tesla cars and offered realistic expectations to potential future owners. He was also deemed a champion for EVs, of which the world needs more and, as such, was embraced by the EV and the Tesla community.
That came to an end with his most recent video, which is no longer available on his channel, called Why I’m Selling My Tesla and Going Back to Gas, in which Rich announced the sale of a Model S. Originally posted at the end of the month, it was pulled from YouTube, for allegedly violating Community Guidelines, within four hours. A couple of days later, after the appeal, YouTube reinstated the video with an apology – and then it got taken down again in less than an hour.
Benoit believes this is the beehive coming for him. “[It] doesn’t seem like a coincidence,” he tells Motherboard of his initial tweet that the fanboys rallied against him like “vultures.” However, he says, his decision was spurred by a desire to offer more diverse content on his channel, and find work that would challenge him as a mechanic and car enthusiast.
“I own Teslas and always will,” Benoit says. “My wife owns a Tesla Model X. My daughter drives a Model S. My kids under 9 drive Mini Power Wheels Teslas. I also have another Model X and a Model S personally.”
And the fanboys weren’t the only ones coming for him, Benoit says on social media in a recent tweet: after years on the referral program, Tesla has announced him that his account has been deactivated because he acted in “bad faith” on his YouTube channel. As you can see in the tweet below, Benoit believes that’s just unfair, since Tesla profited massively from exposure on the same channel.
Granted, there is more than one side to this story. Supporters of the Rich Rebuilds channel have reached out to Tesla and Elon Musk (on Twitter, where Musk is more approachable), demanding justice and maybe even an explanation. Either is yet to come.
The Tesla fanboys formed like Voltron and ganged up to flag my video for removal on youtube. The video which was flagged for “inappropriate content” was about me selling my Tesla and buying a gas car instead. Ladies and gentlemen, this is what happens when you anger the hive. pic.twitter.com/6pJYeyAs9b— Rich Rebuilds (@RebuildsRich) July 1, 2020
After being cleared by YouTube My video was taken down again within 40 mins of being released. It is 100% now on purpose. Guess I can’t do anything but electric or face death.— Rich Rebuilds (@RebuildsRich) July 2, 2020
I’d like to sincerely thank everyone that has used my Tesla referral code over the last few years. My code has been terminated so by using it you won’t get credit for any Tesla related purchases. To those that have used it, I hope you are enjoying these great cars. pic.twitter.com/x5NpwOAWmS— Rich Rebuilds (@RebuildsRich) July 6, 2020
I certainly do understand Tesla’s decision to terminate my referral program. My humor and sarcasm isn’t for everyone. However I feel just a tad used as they were present during my companies open house to help sell their cars by giving rides to people. Don’t retaliate against them pic.twitter.com/eTU8Zt3YEq— Rich Rebuilds (@RebuildsRich) July 6, 2020