Update: Shortly after this story was published, Elon Musk responded on Twitter as follows:
Following that, he followed Caity Weaver of GQ Magazine. The original story as published is below.
Elon Musk follows zero women on Twitter.
The inventor and entrepreneur is an active tweeter, and appears to be running his own Twitter account, rather than outsourcing it to someone else. Musk has a following of over five million on Twitter, but only follows 54 accounts. Most of them are brands or publications, which aren’t gendered.
Twenty one of the accounts that Musk follows are men. This doesn’t include the @CharlieRoseShow, an account for a TV show named for and starring a living man, or @platobooktour, a parody account named for and starring a dead man.
Meanwhile, Musk follows exactly zero women.
It’s not like Musk doesn’t know any women. Neither Tesla Motors nor SpaceX publishes their Equal Employment Opportunity reports—although it is increasingly common for tech companies like Apple and Google to do so—so we don’t have any data on diversity inside Musk’s companies.
When contacted about Musk’s Twitter followers, a spokesperson from SpaceX emailed Motherboard a statement saying, in part: “Both SpaceX and Tesla have many women in leadership positions and throughout the company. Both are committed to diversity and equal pay for women. Extrapolating anything else from Elon's Twitter or from the companies' choice to not participate in an unscientific opt-in diversity survey would be pretty specious and misleading to your readers.”
(The EEO-1 form is not opt-in.)
We know that at least one woman works for Elon Musk: Gwynne Shotwell, President, Chief Operating Officer, and member of the Board of Directors for SpaceX. But she’s not on Twitter (someone else has squatted on her name and is offering it to her), so it’s not like Musk could follow her anyways.
And to be fair, Musk doesn’t follow any of the other directors of SpaceX (all men), besides his brother, Kimbal Musk.At some point in the last few weeks, Musk was still following his estranged wife, Talulah Riley, but she has since been unfollowed. (She doesn’t follow him either.) Which makes it even weirder that Musk tweeted this the other day:
Some of the future episodes of Westworld feature my ex. Talulah does a great job of playing a deadly sexbot :)Elon Musk October 2, 2016
Would it kill you to @-mention her, Elon?
Elon Musk hasn’t retweeted a woman in his last 100 tweets. The last time he retweeted a woman, it was in August.
The woman he retweeted was his mom.
But he doesn’t follow his mom, either.
Of course, Musk often retweets articles about Tesla Motors or SpaceX, which means he’s probably retweeted articles written by women. After all, about half the planet is occupied by people who aren’t men, and it would take a lot of effort to manage to completely erase them.