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Elon Musk hits out at US professor over emerald mine claims: ‘Idiot and liar’

Elon Musk, according to the US politician and professor, comes from a family that owned an emerald mine in Apartheid South Africa.

September 21, 2022 / 09:09 AM IST
Elon Musk is the chief executive of Tesla and SpaceX

Elon Musk is the chief executive of Tesla and SpaceX


Elon Musk hit out at an American professor who claimed that the Tesla chief’s family owned emerald mines in Apartheid-era South Africa.

Robert Reich, Berkeley professor and Former United States Secretary of Labor, posted a video about the myth of self-made billionaires. Through the video, Reich argued that several billionaires who are described as self-made actually had privileged upbringings.

He cited the example of Bill Gates, whose mother, according to Reich, used her connections to help Microsoft get a deal with IBM. Jeff Bezos, who famously started Amazon in his garage, was “funded by a quarter-million dollar investment from his parents.” And Musk, according to the US politician and professor, comes from a family that owned an emerald mine in Apartheid South Africa.

These claims drew a sharp response from Elon Musk. “You both an idiot and a liar [sic],” the billionaire entrepreneur tweeted at Reich in response to his video.


Through his video, Robert Reich tried busting the myth of self-made billionaires, pointing out that many of the world’s richest people started their careers with financial security that allowed them to take greater risks for greater returns.

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His claims about Elon Musk’s family owning an emerald mine, however, did not go down well with the billionaire founder of Tesla. Born in South Africa to Errol and Maye Musk, Elon Musk moved to Canada as a teenager.

The narrative about his family owning an emerald mine has been spreading on the internet since at least 2018, after Business Insider published articles stating that the Tesla CEO’s father owned an emerald mine in Zambia.

Musk set the record straight last year, terming the article “false.”

“There’s no evidence whatsoever of an emerald mine,” he tweeted.

He stated that he arrived in Canada with CA$2500 and paid his own way through college. By the end of it, he owed over $100,000 in student debt, said Musk.
Sanya Jain
first published: Sep 21, 2022 09:08 am
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