Civil rights organizations slam Musk over diversity tweets

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Two of the country’s leading civil rights organizations went after Elon Musk Wednesday after the tech billionaire linked a safety scandal that has grounded Boeing 737 Max 9 jets to diversity hiring efforts.

Dozens of 737 Max 9 aircraft have been grounded since Friday after a window panel blew out of an aircraft midair due to loose bolts. Inspections have found similar loose bolts in other aircraft, causing major safety concerns.

In the wake of the news, X owner Elon Musk claimed, without evidence, that diverse hiring initiatives at Boeing and United Airlines have made air travel less safe. One of Musk’s replies directed attention to a racist post by another user speculating about the IQ of Black airline employees.

“People will die due to DEI,” one Musk post read.

NAACP President Derrick Johnson denounced the comments, attacking Musk and X for harboring hate speech on the platform.

“Reminder to Elon Musk: providing a home for the proliferation of hate speech and white supremacist conspiracy theories kills people,” he wrote. “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion cultivates a more inclusive society. They are not the same. We are not the same.”

X has come under fire and legal scrutiny for its lax content moderation policies. A majority of the site’s advertisers have left since Musk purchased the platform in 2022, and the European Union started an investigation last year into its moderation practices.

National Urban League leader Mark Morial called the remarks “abhorrent and pathetic” in a statement to NBC News Wednesday, noting that Musk’s own Tesla has been sued over allegations of racial harassment in the workplace.

“Musk’s company not only refused to investigate complaints or take any steps to end the abuse, it viciously retaliated against employees who complained or opposed the abuse,” Morial said in a statement to NBC News, citing allegations from the suit. 

“The only thing anyone needs to hear from Musk about diversity in the workplace is an apology,” he said.

Air travel remains one of the safest forms of transportation, with strict safety inspections and regulation, despite a string of near-collisions in the last year.

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