Musk’s Mum Races to His Defence as NYT Links Twitter Buyout to South Africa Apartheid

© AP Photo / Evan AgostiniModel Maye Musk attends the Fragrance Foundation Awards at the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center on Wednesday, June 5, 2019, in New York.
Model Maye Musk attends the Fragrance Foundation Awards at the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center on Wednesday, June 5, 2019, in New York. - Sputnik International, 1920, 07.05.2022
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SpaceX and Tesla founder Elon Musk is now a US citizen, but was born in South Africa's Pretoria in 1970, some thirty years before the apartheid segregation system was ditched in the country.
Elon Musk's mother Maye took to Twitter to defend her son after The New York Times rolled out a report suggesting that he grew up "detached from apartheid’s atrocities".
"In South Africa, if you publicly opposed apartheid, you went to jail," Maye tweeted in response to the NYT report on Thursday. "In Russia, if you publicly oppose the war, you go to jail. [The New York Times] are you going to blame children for decisions made by governments?"
She was not the only one to slam the NYT's story on Musk's childhood in apartheid-era South Africa, with many others lambasting the outlet for apparently accusing a youth of "not fixing" racial segregation.
In their report, NYT writers John Eligon and Lynsey Chutel looked back at Musk's time in South Africa and reflected on how his childhood experience could have affected his decision to buy Twitter.

"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 journalists concluded.

Musk bought Twitter for $44 billion, pledging to promote free speech on the platform. Many left-wing activists have criticised the move, claiming that the billionaire's commitment to free speech might trigger a wave of misinformation.
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