Tesla and the Fanboys Go After Popular EV YouTuber for Announcing Switch to Gas

Even the best things can become boring if we enjoy them for too long. This seems to be the reasoning behind a recent announcement by popular Tesla / EV YouTuber Rich Benoit of the Rich Rebuilds channel, saying he would switch back to gas cars.
Rich Benoit of Rich Rebuilds says announcement to switch back to gas earned him Tesla hate 6 photos
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The response has been swift and completely unexpected, according to Rich. While he’s had his fair share of conflict with both Tesla and the Tesla fanboys, whom he calls the beehive, this was a first for him: the video with the announcement got pulled from YouTube twice and then he had his Tesla referral account deactivated.

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.


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