Accuracy in Media

In a new piece this week headlined “Guy Whose Companies Keep Getting Sued for Discrimination Threatens to ‘Improve’ Twitter,” Vice lamented that Elon Musk, who, while technically not owning an “insider’s share” of Twitter, has been invited to join Twitter’s board.  

Vice denounced it as bad news if you are white or a woman at Twitter, predicting which improvements Twitter might make in the wake of his appointment.

“Logically, one could make some inferences from what goes on at his other companies!” Vice said.  “According to multiple reports, things aren’t going particularly well, especially if you’re a woman or not white.” 

Things seem to be going very well for Tesla, Musk’s largest, most capital intensive company, with nearly $54 billion in revenues, one of the few alternative energy companies that actually manage to make money for its shareholders. 

“I think we’re going to make three, four, five times our money on Tesla from here,” investor Ron Baron recently told CNBC. “I think for Tesla this is the very beginning of what they’re doing.” 

SpaceX, Musk’s other big-name company, is poised for a first: Launching the first private citizens into space to land on the International Space Station. 

While critics tend to deride this as “billionaire tourism,” it’s actually an important development in the democratization of space. 

“This mission, called AX-1, will mark the first time in history that private citizens, or otherwise non-professional astronauts, will launch to the ISS from U.S. soil,” said CNN. 

If space exploration is going to become a reality, this is what it really looks like at the beginning. 

But the major issue Vice reports is that Musk’s company has been sued for discrimination.

However, being sued for discrimination is hardly an uncommon experience among American companies. 

Spawned by growing social consciousness, Google, Amazon, McDonald’s, Pinterest and Johnson & Johnson are just some of the companies that have had discrimination or sexism charges filed recently according to Business Insider. 

“In 2019, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission received more than 7,500 sexual harassment complaints, and 72,000 complaints about racial, sex, age, religious and other types of discrimination,” according to Business Insider.  

All of which makes Tesla and SpaceX’s suits seem average among big companies. 

Especially notable was a $137 judgment returned for the plaintiff against Tesla by a San Francisco jury in a race discrimination lawsuit, according to Vice. 

What Vice neglects to say is that the judgment is likely to be reduced, as the jury awarded punitive damages well in excess of what the actual damages were, which is rarely upheld by courts on appeal, a legal expert at Time said.

But if Vice really wants to go down the harassment and lawsuit road, it needs to look no further than its own company. 

One of the Vice founders, then-chief executive Shane Smith, who still owns 20 percent of the company, was forced out after a series of lawsuits and a New York Times investigation found a pattern of abuse by the company that was directly related to his management. 

“In the report, more than two dozen women claimed they had endured or seen sexual misconduct at Vice — including unwanted kisses, groping and inappropriate comments,” said NBC News in 2018. 




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