Elon Musk revealed Wednesday that he and his brother, Kimbal, have provided financial backing for their father Errol since he “ran out of money” decades ago.
Musk made the claim in response to a lengthy Twitter thread that began with a video posted by former Clinton administration Labor Secretary Robert Reich – who claimed the Tesla CEO grew up wealthy because his father “owned an emerald mine.”
When a Twitter supporter defended Musk in a series of tweets responding to the video, the billionaire chimed in to agree and share some insight on his family dynamic.
“Errol ran out of money in the 90’s,” Musk said. “My brother & I financially supported him & his extended family in South Africa since then on condition that he not do bad things. Unfortunately, he did do bad things :(.”
Musk did not elaborate on what he meant by “bad things.” The Post has reached out to his office at Tesla for further comment.
The Tesla boss has been open about his contentious relationship with his father. In a 2017 interview with Rolling Stone, Musk described his father as “brilliant with engineering” but “such a terrible human being.”
“My dad will have a carefully thought-out plan of evil,” Musk said at the time. “He will plan evil.”
Errol Musk provided a glimpse at the family financial arrangement during a recent interview with Australian radio station KIIS FM.
“We are a very frugal, stingy family,” the Musk family patriarch said. “If I want to spend anything, I have to answer 100 questions of why.”
The Post was not immediately able to reach Errol Musk for comment on his son’s tweet.
Musk had earlier slammed Reich for misrepresenting his background in the post, which argued that “self-made billionaires are a myth” and named the SpaceX founder and other prominent business leaders who had purportedly relied on others to get their start.
Reich said Musk “came from a family that owned an emerald mine in Apartheid South Africa.”
“The origins of self-made billionaires are often depicted as a ‘rags-to-riches’ rise to the top fueled by nothing but personal grit and the courage to take risks — like dropping out of college or starting a business in a garage,” Reich said.
“But in reality, the origins of many billionaires aren’t so humble,” Reich added.
Musk was less than thrilled with Reich’s assertion.
“You both an idiot and a liar,” Musk tweeted in response to the video.
The billionaire also tweeted a link to a Substack post written by Jeremy Arnold, which debunked claims that Musk grew up wealthy due to a family stake in an emerald mine.
Musk also personally disputed the narrative in a series of tweets in December 2019.
“He didn’t own an emerald mine & I worked my way through college, ending up ~$100k in student debt,” Musk said. “I couldn’t even afford a 2nd PC at Zip2, so programmed at night & website only worked during day. Where is this bs coming from?”