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Mark Cuban and Elon Musk Diverge on DEI

In early January, Claudine Gay resigned from Harvard following weeks of calls for her to do so. In her resignation letter, Gay shared that threatening personal attacks were made against her, with many containing race-based language. Gay was the first woman of color to lead Harvard. Some individuals critical of Gay suggested she achieved her position because of her race and not through her accomplishments. Harvard donor Bill Ackman publicly shared that he believed diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts were "racist" and that those efforts were pervasive at Harvard. Ackman had called for Gay's resignation.

Following Gay’s resignation and Ackman’s statement, Elon Musk posted on Twitter that "DEI, because it discriminates on the basis of race, gender[,] and many other factors, is not merely immoral, it is also illegal." He said, "Shame on anyone who uses" the term DEI.

Mark Cuban, an entrepreneur and investor, posted a response to Musk's assertion. Cuban asserted that DEI initiatives are good for businesses because they enable companies to find the best employees, get the best out of workers, and increase productivity by reducing "unnecessary" stress. He stated, "People of various races, ethnicities, orientation, etc." are "regularly excluded from hiring consideration." Cuban posted that Musk is losing out by not widening his search for good employees. Equity is a "core principle of business," says Cuban, "Put your employees in a position to succeed. Recognize their differences and play to their strengths wherever possible.”

Musk responded to Cuban by asking when Cuban would be adding a "short white/Asian woman" to Cuban's Dallas Maverick basketball team. Ackman told Cuban that he used to believe in DEI but called it a "trap."