Elon Musk fires back at 'bogus' claim he sacked assistant who asked for a raise

Elon Musk in quotesGetty Images/Reuters

Tesla boss Elon Musk has rubbished claims made in a biography that he sacked his assistance of 12 years because she asked for a raise.

The biography, written by Ashley Vance and published in 2015, claims Musk gave Mary Beth Brown two weeks off after she asked for a raise, to see if he could take on her responsibilities and carry on without her. On her return, Musk is alleged to have let her go.

Despite the book being on sale for over two years, this anecdote has only recently made its way into several online news reports. This coverage prompted Musk to share his side of the story on Twitter.

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Although Musk admitted he and Brown parted ways, he claims to have paid her 52 weeks of salary on her departure, plus stock options.

On 10 August, he began by replying to Business Insider's coverage of the story. "Ashlee Vance's biography is mostly correct, but also rife with errors and never independently fact-checked, despite my request that he do so," Musk said, adding: "Of all the bogus anecdotes, this one troubles me the most. Ashlee never actually ran this story by me or my assistant. It is total nonsense."

Naming his former assistant, Musk went on: "Mary Beth was an amazing assistant for over 10 years, but as company complexity grew, the role required several specialists vs one generalist...MB was given 52 weeks of salary and stock in appreciation for her great contribution and left to join a small firm, once again as a generalist."

Musk then replied to a tweet by Time magazine promoting the same story, saying: "This is about as true as Time being a paragon of great journalism. Please spend at least eight seconds checking your facts."

Having made his point, Musk then went about correcting a somewhat smaller claim made by the book. "One other I'd like to correct from the biography: I never said I was a samurai. Said I was ninja. No, that's a joke. Didn't say that either." Musk said in a later tweet: "Just because I have the outfit and the awesome weapons doesn't make me a ninja. That requires years of training."

Returning to some of the more damning anecdotes covered by the biography, Musk said: "There are dozens of bogus or half-true anecdotes [that] don't really matter and maybe five to 10 that do. Guess I could post for those interested."

Unfortunately for Musk fans, that's where this chapter ends as it is now the middle of the night in California and he is yet to tweet again.

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