Elon Musk has provoked a furious backlash in Scotland by accusing Humza Yousaf of being “a blatant racist” after the tech billionaire saw a highly selective clip of a speech by the first minister.
The individual known as Musk, who owns Tesla, Space X, and the social platform X (previously known as Twitter), responded to a 45-second video on X from an anonymous account called End Wokeness. The video, posted by Yousaf, listed all the high-ranking government positions in Scotland held by white individuals.
The verified account with a blue checkmark accused Yousaf, who is the first ethnic minority first minister of Scotland, of openly showing hatred towards white people. They questioned why Scotland’s parliament and King would choose someone who dislikes almost the entire country. In response, Musk called this behavior blatantly racist.
Musk faced immediate pushback regarding X, but Yousaf countered by sharing a gif from the BBC Scotland show Still Game featuring an Asian shopkeeper dancing in his shop with the caption “racists angered by my mere existence”.
Many messages noted that Yousaf believed that Scotland’s public sector and institutions lacked a strong dedication to racial diversity, as they were predominantly led by white individuals.
The post shared by the account ChurchillsCigar was fact-checked by the Ferret news website, which determined it to be false. The extract was deemed to be misleading as it was a selective quote from a larger statement, and this conclusion was shared by critics of Yousaf’s government.
Yousaf’s statement has been frequently shared in Scotland by extreme nationalist groups, who allege that it was discriminatory. Attendees and demonstrators at his events have also criticized him for being racist.
Yousaf has received widespread praise for his management of the Israel-Hamas conflict, organizing gatherings with Jewish leaders and the widow of a Jewish man who was killed by Hamas, and releasing joint statements denouncing the aggression. His spouse, Nadia El-Nakla, is of half Palestinian descent and his previous partner was Caucasian.
In May 2020, Yousaf addressed MSPs about a motion supporting anti-racist activism following the death of George Floyd. During his speech, he shared his personal experiences with racism since being elected.
He stated to the assembly that many were shocked or caught off guard when I mentioned on my social media that in 99% of the meetings I attend, I am the sole person of color in the room.
Why do we find it shocking that the highest roles in Scotland are predominantly occupied by individuals who are white? The speaker proceeded to outline all the white individuals currently holding senior positions in the justice sector, including those in the judicial, policing, and legal fields within his portfolio. He also noted the same trend in the health sector, which he also oversees.
“Almost every trade union in the country, headed by people who are white people,” he added. “In the Scottish government every director general is white. Every chair of every public body is white. That is not good enough.”
The first minister, according to a spokesperson for Yousaf, has faced racist hate, abuse, and death threats throughout his life and has consistently stood up against all forms of hatred and bigotry.
Unfortunately, a large portion of the racist harassment and violent threats towards the first minister are directed at him through X, formerly known as Twitter. Mr. Musk should use his influence to address the racism and hate that goes unaddressed on the social media platform that he owns.