Posted on January 15, 2024

Elon Musk Criticized by Civil Rights Groups Over Claim That Diversity Efforts Make Flying Less Safe

David Ingram, NBC, January 10, 2024

Tech billionaire Elon Musk drew a swift rebuke from two of the nation’s best known civil rights organizations Wednesday, after he criticized efforts by United Airlines and Boeing to hire nonwhite pilots and factory workers.

The criticism came after Musk claimed in a series of posts on X that efforts to diversify workforces at those companies have made air travel less safe. He offered no evidence for the claim, and one of his replies directed attention to a post by someone else speculating about the IQ of Black airline employees.

Marc Morial, president and CEO of the National Urban League, said Musk’s statements were “abhorrent and pathetic.” He noted that Tesla, where Musk is CEO, is being sued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for alleged abuse of Black employees, including claims of racial slurs and nooses found in the workplace.

“Musk’s company not only refused to investigate complaints or take any steps to end the abuse, it viciously retaliated against employees who complained or opposed the abuse,” Morial said in a statement to NBC News, citing allegations from the suit.

“The only thing anyone needs to hear from Musk about diversity in the workplace is an apology,” he said.

NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson responded to Musk on X, saying the actual danger comes from Musk’s own social media site.

“Reminder to @elonmusk: providing a home for the proliferation of hate speech and white supremacist conspiracy theories kills people. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion cultivates a more inclusive society,” Johnson wrote.

“They are not the same. We are not the same,” he added.

Musk’s decision to wade into the subject of airline safety follows discussions that were sparked Friday when a panel blew off a Boeing jet while it was flying.

Musk’s statements on the topic started Tuesday when he responded to an X user who speculated that IQ scores of United Airlines pilots who went to historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) were lower than the average of IQ of Air Force pilots. Musk replied to that post with his own attack on programs that promote diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI).

“It will take an airplane crashing and killing hundreds of people for them to change this crazy policy of DIE,” Musk wrote, misspelling the DEI acronym.


On Thursday morning, Musk wrote on X in response to an NBC News post of this article: “Those are openly racist organizations.”