"You are a liar": Musk vs. Cuban DEI debate takes new turn
The big picture: The two entrepreneurs have waded online into the growing debate in corporate America over workplace diversity, equity and inclusion programs.
- Cuban has defended such initiatives, while Musk has equated the term "DEI" to racism.
- U.S. companies have been navigating a new frontier related to DEI, in the wake of attacks against diversity efforts. The backlash marked a reversal from the explosion in corporate DEI after George Floyd's killing pushed companies to act to address racial inequality.
- The post was accompanied by a screenshot of an article from the conservative outlet Daily Wire entitled, "United Airlines says it wants 50% of pilots trained in next decade to be a woman or people of color."
- Musk responded saying, "The airline industry can't find enough qualified pilots even without insane DEI requirements!"
- "BTW, looks like multiple layers of merit-based evaluations before they can fly for United," Cuban said, adding a link to the program.
Musk responded, saying, "You are a liar."
Zoom out: Airline staffing shortages led to flight delays, cancellations and lots of frustration for travelers after demand snapped back following the COVID-19 pandemic.
- But for many employers, maintaining a diverse workforce where employees feel included is a key part of attracting and retaining workers (particularly in a tight labor market).
- Often the anti-DEI comments comments have come from CEOs who may not understand particularly well why diversity efforts might be important to women, or Black people or any other group.
Go deeper: DEI backlash hits corporate America