Elon Musk responds to story of him putting his assistant through a 2-week test


(Elon Musk.Larry Busacca/Getty Images for The New York Times)
Tesla CEO Elon Musk had a few words for the author who retold the story of his longtime assistant, Mary Beth Brown, a woman who quit working for Musk after 12 years, in 2014.

Ashlee Vance shared the anecdote in his biography of Musk, titled "Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future."

According to Vance, Brown asked Musk for a significant raise after working for him for more than a decade. In response, Musk reportedly told Brown to take two weeks off, during which hewould assume her responsibilities and see whether she was critical to his success.

When Brown returned, Musk told her he didn't need her anymore, according to the book's account.

Musk took issue with that, saying "Of all the bogus anecdotes, this one troubles me the most. Ashlee never actually ran this story by me or my assistant. It is total nonsense," Musk tweeted Thursday night.

He continued: "Mary Beth was an amazing assistant for over 10 yrs, but as company complexity grew, the role required several specialists vs one generalist."

"MB was given 52 weeks of salary & stock in appreciation for her great contribution & left to join a small firm, once again as a generalist," Musk said.

However, Musk conceded that the biography overall was not entirely flawed, calling it "mostly correct," but saying that the story was "rife with errors and never independently fact-checked" despite his request for that.

Musk's mother, Maye, also weighed in: "I agree. Some of the facts were glaringly wrong, but altogether the "bio" was interesting."

The book was originally published in May 2015.

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