Elon Musk denied writing in an email that he was "extremely disappointed" in an employee's choice to skip a meeting to see the birth of a child.
The quotation was first published in Ashlee Vance's book, "Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX and the Quest for a Fantastic Future."
It gained massive attention thanks to a Washington Post article from May 11 called "The 22 most memorable quotes from the new Elon Musk book, ranked."
Here's what the Tesla CEO allegedly told the worker:
That is no excuse. I am extremely disappointed. You need to figure out where your priorities are. We're changing the world and changing history, and you either commit or you don't.
The Washington Post reported Vance got the quote from an "anonymous Tesla employee."
Vance's book is said to be based off the 30 hours he spent talking to Musk, along with interviews with 300 people, according to The Verge.
But, Musk recently tweeted that he never spoke or wrote those cruel words.
It is total BS & hurtful to claim that I told a guy to miss his child's birth just to attend a company meeting. I would never do that. — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 12, 2015
@voxdotcom I have never written or said this. Ashlee's book was not independently fact-checked. Should be taken w a grain of salt. — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 12, 2015
Musk also denied the following quote:
My mentality is that of a Samurai. I would rather commit seppuku than fail.
Shortly after The Washington Post article was published, Musk said he has never referred to himself as a samurai.
Here are three other comparably outrageous quotes that are yet to be denied.
I would like to allocate more time to dating, though. I need to find a girlfriend. That's why I need to carve out just a little more time. I think maybe even another five to 10 — how much time does a woman want a week? Maybe 10 hours? That's kind of the minimum? I don't know. I would tell those people they will get to see their families a lot when we go bankrupt. If there was a way that I could not eat, so I could work more, I would not eat. I wish there was a way to get nutrients without sitting down for a meal.
As The Verge suggests, Vance's goal seems to have been to expose Musk as a cold-hearted workaholic similar to Steve Jobs.