Elon Musk hit out at Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban for his full-throated defense of DEI, or diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives across corporate America in a scathing tweet on Thursday.
“Mark Cuban is desperately trying to signal his ‘virtue,’ but his hypocrisy convinces no one,” Musk wrote as the two billionaires engaged in an online brawl on the X social media platform following the resignation of Harvard President Claudine Gay.
Cuban, who recently announced his departure from the hit business reality TV show “Shark Tank,” responded: “Lol.”
Musk was responding to an X user who asked Cuban “whether he thinks it is okay for Asians to face discrimination in college admissions.”
Cuban “dodged the question and gave a non-answer,” according to the X user who goes by the name “The Rabbit Hole.”
The Mavericks owner on Wednesday spoke up for DEI after it was panned by Musk and fellow billionaire Bill Ackman, the hedge fund manager who has been among the most vocal in calling for Gay’s removal.
Musk and Ackman have formed a united front online in denouncing DEI, which the Tesla mogul said is “just another word for racism.”
“Shame on anyone who uses it,” Musk wrote on his X social media platform on Wednesday.
“DEI, because it discriminates on the basis of race, gender and many other factors, is not merely immoral, it is also illegal,” Musk added.
Cuban responded to Musk’s X post with a lengthy defense of DEI, saying that diversity was beneficial for business since “there are people of various races, ethnicities, orientation, etc that are regularly excluded from hiring consideration.”
“By extending our hiring search to include them, we can find people that are more qualified,” Cuban wrote.
Musk was responding to a lengthy note written by Pershing Square founder and CEO Ackman, who argued that Harvard’s adoption of DEI was “the root cause of antisemitism” at the campus.
Ackman, a Harvard alum, has been critical of Gay and other administrators’ response to the rise of antisemitism at his alma mater which erupted in the wake of the Oct. 7 assault by Hamas terrorists who staged a cross-border attack that left nearly 1,200 Israelis dead.
Gay and other administrators were criticized for an insufficient response to a student letter circulated by dozens of groups who laid the blame for the Hamas attack on Israel.
Last month, Gay and other top college administrators including the heads of the University of Pennsylvania and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology were grilled by lawmakers over whether calls for genocide against Jews were a violation of their campuses’ code of conduct.
Ackman demanded Gay’s removal after she gave what many consider to be an evasive answer on the topic. Liz Magill, the president of UPenn, resigned after giving similar answers.
Gay announced earlier this week that she would be resigning after it was learned that she plagiarized in dozens of the academic works that she published.
Ackman’s wife, Neri Oxman, admitted on Thursday that she plagiarized part of her doctoral dissertation while getting her PhD from MIT, where she later worked as a tenured professor.