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.
You both an idiot and a liar
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 21, 2022
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.
This article is false.
- I arrived by myself in Canada in ‘89 with ~CA$2500
- Paid my own way through college, ending with ~$100k student debt
- Started 1st company with no funding & just one computer I built
- There’s no evidence whatsoever of an “emerald mine”
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 25, 2021
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.