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Tesla founder Elon Musk’s mother spoke out against The New York Times this week after the newspaper claimed in a recent story that her son was “detached from apartheid’s atrocities” during his youth in South Africa.
The Times promoted the story Thursday morning on Twitter, where it also suggested Musk was “surrounded by anti-Black propaganda” as a child.
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But Maye Musk explained that publicly opposing apartheid would land a person in jail, much like how Russians would go to jail today for condemning the war on Ukraine.
“In South Africa, if you publicly opposed apartheid, you went to jail,” Maye Musk said in a tweet. “In Russia, if you publicly oppose the war, you go to jail.”
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She also pointed out that Musk was just a child and should not be held responsible for the actions of his government.
“@nytimes are you going to blame children for decisions made by governments?” Maye Musk asked.
Her tweet was in response to a story by reporters John Eligon and Lynsey Chutel titled, “Elon Musk Left a South Africa That Was Rife With Misinformation and White Privilege.”
The story comes amid fears from many in the mainstream press that Elon Musk’s $44 billion purchase of Twitter last month means the social media platform will become flooded with misinformation because of the billionaire’s previous comments suggesting a commitment to free speech.
“Mr. Musk has heralded his purchase of Twitter as a victory for free speech, having criticized the platform for removing posts and banning users,” the reporters wrote.
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“It is unclear what role his childhood — coming up in a time and place in which there was hardly a free exchange of ideas and where government misinformation was used to demonize Black South Africans — may have played in that decision,” the story continues.