Elon Musk, who owns companies such as Twitter, Tesla and SpaceX, had on Sunday addressed a controversy surrounding his family background as some claims were made that his father owned an emerald mine in South Africa. Musk countered these claims by stating that he did not come from a particularly wealthy background and actually had a “middle income situation”. He did acknowledge that he “did not have a happy childhood”.
A Twitter user disputed a tweet on the billionaire that claimed, “no money and graduated with over $100k in debt, despite scholarships & working 2 jobs while at school.” In response, she said, “I strongly support the community notes and all this work, but in this case, I don’t agree! A student can face financial difficulties despite coming from a wealthy family. Additionally, the cited source is not reliable at all.”
Reacting to the controversy, the CEO of the microblogging site penned a detailed note stating, “I grew up in a lower, transitioning to upper, middle income situation, but did not have a happy childhood. Haven’t inherited anything ever from anyone, nor has anyone given me a large financial gift.”
Musk clarified that his father ran a small electrical/mechanical engineering company for up to 20 to 30 years but later faced financial difficulties, causing him to be essentially bankrupt for about 25 years, requiring financial support from Musk and his brother.
Regarding the emerald mine controversy, Musk stated that the mine in question did not have any evidence of existence. “He told me that he owned a share in a mine in Zambia, and I believed him for a while, but nobody has ever seen the mine, nor are there any records of its existence,” he explained.
Musk concluded the note by stating, “If this mine was real, he would not require financial support from my brother and me.” Despite this, Musk acknowledged his father’s role in teaching him the fundamentals of physics, engineering, and construction, which he believed were more valuable than money. However, he claimed that this did not help him financially after high school.
Musk’s mother, Maye Musk, also chimed in on the conversation, saying, “When we moved to Toronto in 1989, we stayed in a one-bedroom apartment until I found a rent-controlled apartment, which took us three weeks to clean up. We all worked, were happy and optimistic. The first I heard of an emerald mine was on @Twitter about 10 years ago.”