Elon Musk, founder of SpaceX and CEO of Tesla Inc., arrives on Tuesday, December 1, 2020, at the Axel Springer Awards Ceremony in Berlin, Germany.
Liesa Johannssen-Koppitz | Bloomberg | Getty Images
In a series of tweets this week, Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk mocked people who list pronouns that others would like to use to describe them in their online biographies. Now, a group that gave Tesla top marks as a great place for LGBTQ people to work says they should apologize.
Companies are under greater pressure than ever to create an inclusive environment and support a diverse workforce. The practice of displaying pronouns on social networks and in the executive biography is used by people who want to show respect for or who identify as trans, nonconforming, gender-fluid, non-binary or intersex. (They are represented by T and Q in the acronym LGBTQ.)
Apple executors Tim Cook and Greg Joswiak use pronouns in their Twitter biographies, for example. And Facebook settings allow users to personalize their favorite gender information and pronouns or choose not to display them if they prefer.
Musk’s initial tweet he included the words “when you put it in your biography” next to an image of a soldier rubbing his bloody hands on his face.
After fans and detractors criticized both the tweet, he defended himself tweeting“I absolutely support trans, but all these pronouns are an aesthetic nightmare.” He then Highlighted that Tesla ranked No. 1 in the Corporate Equality Index, an annual list of the best jobs for LGBTQ people.
This prestigious list is compiled annually by the Campaign for Human Rights, an equal rights charitable foundation for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
Now, that group says Musk should apologize.
“Musk’s insensitive comments are completely contrary to what the HRC Workplace Equality Program works with companies every day to create – providing employees with a safe, inclusive and equitable work environment,” the group wrote in response to an investigation by CNBC.
The president of the organization, Alphonso David, stressed that “Elon Musk’s mocking pronouns are the exact opposite of what inclusive leadership shows today. It is also definitely out of the best practices we advise companies to do. ” He added, “Musk should apologize.”
Tesla and Musk did not immediately return a request for comment.
Musk has been accused of being transphobic in the recent past. In July, he wrote on Twitter that “the pronoun sucks,” but deleted the tweet after his partner, Canadian musician Grimes, confronted him.
Here is the full statement from the Human Rights Campaign:
The Corporate Equality Index (IEC) is a comprehensive measure of non-discrimination policies, practices and benefits at work that are essential for the full protection and inclusion of LGBTQ workers. Tesla scored 100 at IEC 2020 based on this crucial foundation of inclusive non-discrimination policies and benefits.
No comparison tool can fully explain the daily experiences of LGBTQ workers. The IEC criteria themselves are the necessary foundations for LGBTQ inclusion, but they are not fully what is needed to ensure a fully inclusive and welcoming environment. CEI is not a cover for poor personal behavior, and HRC condemns Musk’s tweets as mocking pronouns.
Musk’s insensitive comments are completely contrary to what the HRC Workplace Equality Program works with companies every day to create – providing employees with a safe, inclusive and equitable work environment.