Apr 3, 2020 - Economy

Mark Cuban criticizes "arrogant" 3M on respirator production

Photo: Axios Events

Businessman and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said during an Axios virtual event Friday that 3M is "arrogant" for not speaking up about respirator production in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak.

What he said: Cuban criticized the company for "making more globally than domestically," echoing a similar line from President Trump now that the U.S. is the epicenter of the pandemic. "You can't ghost the American people," he told Axios CEO Jim VandeHei from Dallas.

  • "It's great that they’re doubling their production to 2 billion masks a year, but when you look at what they're doing here in the U.S. — the country they’re based in, the country they were founded in — according to their own numbers, they produce 110 million masks a month globally, 35 million masks a month domestically," he added.

The big picture: It's not Cuban's first criticism of the company. Last month, he said that 3M's use of distributors to sell their respirators — and the subsequent lack of accountability for their pricing — was "wrong" and "criminal," per Bloomberg.

The state of play: Trump used the Defense Production Act against the company to spur additional respiration production this week — and requested that it stop its exports of American-made masks to Canada and Latin America.

  • 3M pushed back against the proposed export restrictions, saying they could have "significant humanitarian implications" as it is a "critical supplier of respirators" for those regions.
  • It also argued that restrictions could cause retaliation from other nations and actually decrease the overall number of respirators available in the U.S.

More from Cuban's interview:

  • On how companies can make the best of the pandemic: "This is a complete reset. All those things you were wondering about. I wonder if we tried this, I wonder if we tried that. Now we can try them. ... We have a chance to go into America 2.0."
  • On restarting the NBA season this year: "I hope so. I really do. But again, the NBA will put safety first. ... I’m hopeful, let’s just put it that way."
  • On a 2020 presidential run: "I doubt it, but you know, like I said, everything's a reset right now. You never say never. ... I'll keep an open mind, but I seriously doubt it."
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