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Tesla shareholder calls on board to suspend Elon Musk for agreeing with antisemitic post

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Originally Published: 20 NOV 23 10:59 ET Updated: 20 NOV 23 11:09 ET By Matt Egan, CNN

New York (CNN) — Tesla’s board of directors should suspend Elon Musk for endorsing antisemitic views on social media, according to one investor in the electric vehicle company.

Jerry Braakman, president of First American Trust, wants Tesla’s board to send a clear message that Musk went too far last week by agreeing with an antisemitic post on X (formerly known as Twitter) that claims Jewish communities push “hatred against Whites.”

“I believe in free speech, but there’s no excuse for spreading hatred by a CEO of a public company,” Braakman said in a statement.

On Friday, Disney, NBCUniversal, CNN owner Warner Bros. Discovery and other major brands to halted advertising on X, which is owned by Musk. The companies did not specifically say it was related to Musk’s post, but some of their advertisements were found to be placed near antisemitic posts on X, according to a report by Media Matters.

Tesla’s board should put Musk on leave for 30 to 60 days and require him to attend empathy training and/or therapy, Braakman argued.

“Neither his wealth nor his technical and business prowess excuse his statements. It seems it has only amplified the demons he carries. And it screams that he needs help,” Braakman said.

Neither Tesla nor the company’s chair, Robyn Denholm, were immediately available to comment.

Of course, Musk holds enormous sway over Tesla, which he co-founded.

Not only is Musk viewed as the single most important person at Tesla, but he sits on the board of directors and is the largest individual shareholder. Musk held 411 million shares as of the end of March, amounting to about a 13% stake valued today at approximately $96 billion.

By contrast, Santa Ana, Calif.-based First American owns a relatively tiny stake of 16,000 shares as of the end of September.

Tesla board is led by Denholm and includes James Murdoch, venture capitalist Ira Ehrenpreis, Musk’s younger brother Kimbal and Musk himself.

“Only his board can hold him accountable. And he has a lot of friends on it,” Braakman said.

Some prominent business leaders are standing by Musk.

Hedge fund billionaire Bill Ackman, who has been critical of how Harvard and other universities have handled antisemitism on campus, said over the weekend that Musk is “not an antisemite.”

“It is remarkable how quickly the world stands ready to attack Musk for his shoot from the hip commentary,” Ackman said in a post on X. “Musk is not perfect, but the world is a vastly better place because of him.”

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