Judge Reject's Tesla's Top Gear Lawsuit
© Michael Graham Richard
When Top Gear reviewed the Tesla Roadster, they stirred up an all mighty sh*t storm with their scripted implications that the car had run out of juice and had to be pushed into the garage. Those implications had Tesla fuming, and they issued a libel lawsuit to pursue damages against the BBC.
As Mike posted in November, however, it was looking unlikely that Tesla could actually prove that any substantial harm had been done, and indeed that's how it ended up, with the judge throwing out the lawsuit arguing that TV viewers are savvy enough to know that not all is as it seems. Jalopnik has a pretty decent summary of the rejection of the Tesla lawsuit (complete with gloating Top Gear fans in the comments):
The judge today dismissed this as unreasonable as motorists are aware that cars will perform different under different conditions, such as being on a racing track.
Justice Tugendhat also made mention that what Tesla appears to want is a legal ruling saying Top Gear is a bunch of lying liars who lie, but that "rectification of inaccuracies is not a function of the courts unless that can be achieved in the course of proceedings properly brought to enforce a recognized course of action."
Of course what is legal, and what is moral, are not always the same thing. And the Top Gear script writers and presenters had made up their minds to highlight the shortcomings of the vehicle, even before they got their hands on the thing. In terms of entertainment and "comedy", Tesla has little room for complaint. But if you view Top Gear as offering consumer reviews of any value, I would argue that the episode damaged Top Gear almost as much as it did Tesla.
Either way, I always found the show boring and pointless, so I am probably not the best person to judge.