Tesla drops diversity statements from SEC filing after Musk’s anti-DEI rant

Tesla, the electric car company led by billionaire Elon Musk, has removed several statements promoting diversity and inclusion from its latest annual report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). This comes after Musk’s controversial comments on his social media platform X, where he called DEI “just another word for racism” and said “DEI must DIE”.


What did Tesla omit from its SEC filing and why?

Tesla, which filed its 10-K report for the fiscal year 2023 on January 29, 2024, omitted multiple statements that were present in its previous filing a year ago. These statements included:

  • “With a majority-minority workforce, empowering our employee resource groups to take charge in driving initiatives that attract, develop and retain our passionate workforce is vital to our continued success.”
  • “We partner with external organizations to sponsor our employee resource groups, which are key business resources and sources of actionable feedback.”
  • “We also work with suppliers from underrepresented communities.”

These statements were meant to highlight Tesla’s commitment to diversity and inclusion, and to showcase its efforts to support its minority workers and communities. However, Tesla decided to drop these statements from its latest filing, following Musk’s recent criticism of DEI policies and practices.

Musk, who is known for his outspoken and unconventional views, has expressed his disdain for DEI initiatives on his social media platform X, which he launched in 2022 as an alternative to Twitter and Facebook. On X, Musk has posted several messages attacking DEI, such as:

  • “DEI is just another word for racism. It is literally the definition of racism.”
  • “DEI must DIE. It is a cancer on society and a threat to freedom and justice.”
  • “DEI is a scam to extort money from companies and individuals. It is a form of blackmail and coercion.”
  • “DEI is a tool for the woke mob to silence and cancel anyone who disagrees with them. It is a violation of free speech and human rights.”

Musk’s anti-DEI comments have sparked outrage and backlash from many people, especially from the minority groups and communities that are affected by discrimination and inequality. Many have accused Musk of being ignorant, insensitive, and hypocritical, and have called for him to apologize and retract his statements.

What are the implications and challenges of Tesla’s omission and Musk’s comments?

Tesla’s omission of diversity statements from its SEC filing and Musk’s comments on DEI have several implications and challenges for the company, its workers, and its stakeholders. Some of these are:

  • Tesla’s omission could damage its reputation and credibility as a socially responsible and progressive company, and could alienate its customers, investors, and partners who value diversity and inclusion.
  • Tesla’s omission could also expose it to legal and regulatory risks, as it could be seen as a violation of the SEC’s rules and guidelines on disclosure and reporting. The SEC requires companies to provide accurate and complete information on their business activities, risks, and opportunities, and to disclose any material information that could affect their financial performance and outlook.
  • Tesla’s omission could also affect its ability to attract and retain talent, especially from the minority groups and communities that are underrepresented and marginalized in the tech industry. Tesla could face a shortage of skilled and diverse workers, and could lose its competitive edge and innovation potential.
  • Musk’s comments could also create a hostile and toxic work environment for Tesla’s minority workers, who could feel unwelcome, unsafe, and unsupported by their leader and their company. Tesla could face a loss of morale, productivity, and loyalty among its workers, and could also face lawsuits and complaints from workers who have experienced or witnessed discrimination and harassment at Tesla.

How has Tesla and Musk responded to the criticism and controversy?

Tesla and Musk have not issued any official statement or response to the criticism and controversy caused by their omission and comments. However, some sources and reports have suggested that:

  • Tesla’s omission was not intentional or deliberate, but rather a result of a technical error or oversight. Tesla’s legal and compliance team may have missed or forgotten to include the diversity statements in the final version of the filing, or may have encountered some glitches or problems in the filing process.
  • Tesla’s omission was not influenced or directed by Musk, but rather a decision made by Tesla’s board of directors or senior executives. Tesla’s board or executives may have decided to remove the diversity statements to avoid any potential conflicts or contradictions with Musk’s views and statements, or to avoid any legal or regulatory scrutiny or challenges from the SEC or other authorities.
  • Musk’s comments were not meant to be taken seriously or literally, but rather as a form of satire or sarcasm. Musk may have posted his anti-DEI messages as a joke or a prank, or as a way to provoke and challenge the status quo and the mainstream narrative. Musk may have also posted his messages as a form of marketing or publicity stunt, to generate attention and buzz for his company and his platform.

However, these sources and reports have not been verified or confirmed by Tesla or Musk, and have been met with skepticism and disbelief by many people, especially by those who have been offended and hurt by their omission and comments.

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