With great power comes great responsibility and with great wealth comes great scrutiny. Detractors of Elon Musk often discuss his upbringing, highlighting the fact that his father owned an Emerald mine in Africa. 

The issue arose again on Twitter this week. “If being born to a well-off family is why @ElonMusk succeeded extravagantly in life then explain to me why all these rich kids go to art school, never get a job, and waste away,” someone tweeted, making sure to tag the SpaceX founder.

Musk was quick to respond: “Yeah, kids starting with lots of money usually have much less motivation than those who have nothing,” he wrote, before offering a different version of his background. “When we started our first company (Zip2) in 95, I had over $100k of student debt, a computer I built myself and a few thousand dollars.”

A fan then backed Musk up, condoning people for spreading “lies” about him. “While starting Zip2 you guys didn’t have a place to stay & had to shower at YMCA. Also while in college didn’t u guys turn ur room in a nightclub to afford rent?” he added. “Yeah, we paid for rent by turning the house into a nightclub & charging $5,” the new owner of Twitter replied.

The reaction in the comments was seriously split. “It’s never about the wealth. It’s only about someone’s dreams and motivation and hard work… I am not rich at all and because I am not telling stories about me not being rich, it’s such a disadvantage to me because people assume that I am rich,” someone wrote.

“I think you mistake the opportunities wealth brings. Simply look at the difference in school districts. Low income areas have a 60% grad rate, while high income areas have a 98%+ grad rate. The connections people make with neighbours present job opportunities,” someone else countered.

Just days after his famous acquisition of Twitter, Musk attended the Met Gala with his mum. While on the red carpet, he found time to discuss his vision for Twitter. “My goal, assuming everything gets done, would be to make Twitter as inclusive as possible and to have as broad a swath of the country and of the rest of the world on Twitter and that they find it interesting and entertaining and funny,” he said.

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