Mark Cuban links immigration policy to DEI in debate with Elon Musk

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    Billionaire Mark Cuban continued his defense of corporate diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) policies amid his debate with Elon Musk after he appeared to chide the Tesla boss over his support for legal immigration, claiming the two go hand-in-hand.

    Cuban’s post came in response to a post by Musk on X, formerly Twitter, that expressed support for increasing legal immigration while curbing illegal immigration. “As a reminder, I am very much PRO increasing legal immigration significantly,” Musk wrote. “I’m not anti-immigration, I’m just against a massive number of unvetted people flooding into America, which any rational person should be.”

    Bill Ackman, billionaire founder and CEO of Pershing Square Capital Management, agreed with Musk’s post. Ackman has been critical of DEI policies on college campuses for undermining free speech and expression on campus and its presence in corporate culture and government.

    Cuban, a billionaire entrepreneur and longtime “Shark Tank” panelist, posted a screenshot of their exchange and explained that DEI would benefit those legal immigrants through their inclusion in applicant pools, assimilation into the workforce and their inclusion in company culture.

    Mark Cuban

    Billionaire entrepreneur Mark Cuban has expressed support for corporate DEI policies in a running debate with Elon Musk. (Oscar J. Barroso/Europa Press via / Getty Images)

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    “Look at @elonmusk and @BillAckman looking to bring the Diversity in DEI to the USA ! And of course, we want all those legal immigrants of age to get jobs. So companies with DEI programs can include them in the applicant pools and if they are the most qualified, get a job. (D)”

    “Once hired, sure would be nice if their employer helped them with programs to asimilate [sic] into the workforce(E)

    “And as new legal immigrants, hopefully they also were made to feel accepted in the company culture (I),” Cuban continued. “You 2 are heroes [sic] for your support of DEI at a macro level.”

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    Mark Cuban and Musk

    Billionaires Mark Cuban and Elon Musk have been engaged in a debate over DEI policies in the workplace. (Christopher Willard/ABC via Getty Images | Marco Ravagli/Future Publishing via  / Getty Images)

    Cuban’s support for DEI initiatives on social media recently attracted the attention of a commissioner at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which enforces workplace anti-discrimination laws.

    Cuban said last week that he had “never hired anyone based exclusively on race, gender, or religion” and then qualified that “race and gender” can sometimes be factored in if it meant putting his business “in the best position to succeed.” Cuban added, “I view diversity as a competitive advantage.”

    EEOC Commissioner Andrea Lucas responded to the post saying, “Unfortunately you’re dead wrong on black-letter Title VII law. As a general rule, race/sex can’t even be a ‘motivating factor’ – nor a plus factor, tie-breaker, or tipping point. It’s important employers understand the ground rules here.”

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    Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)

    The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) hasn’t ruled on DEI policies in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision on affirmative action in college admissions. (Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via / Getty Images)

    Cuban responded by posting a video of a debate between Lucas, a Republican EEOC member, and a Democratic EEOC member, vice chair Jocelyn Samuels, that was moderated by the Federalist Society and discussed workplace DEI initiatives. He noted that “Not all EEOC commissioners agree on everything” when it comes to DEI policies in the business world. 

    Samuels argued that in her view, DEI or affirmative action policies could be implemented in a “race-conscious but neutrally executed” manner. She added that while “quotas have been unlawful under Title VII forever” – “goals, I think, can be a very salutary way to evaluate whether you are… creating barriers to the levels of representation that you would see if the workplace were fully non-discriminatory. They’re aspirational. They’re not mandatory.”

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    Lucas elaborated on her views regarding DEI policies in the workplace in an interview with FOX Business last week.

    “The law’s crystal clear. There’s no legitimate business reason that justifies discrimination based on race or sex. Mr. Cuban is conflating the idea that someone’s race and sex can be part of the complete package,” Lucas told FOX Business’s Lydia Hu. “But that’s not provided for under the law. And if he’s using it as a factor, even if it’s not the only factor or the dispositive factor, if it’s any part of the decision, then it’s a motivating factor, and that’s illegal.”

    FOX Business’s Bradford Betz contributed to this report.



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