Elon Musk, the world’s former preeminent wealth hoarder before a series of utterly oafish financial blunders, is the father of 10 children (that we know of), most of whom were conceived with fertility technology. He spent much of last year tweeting out fearmongering claims about declining birth rates and is reportedly obsessed with having as many kids as possible to spread his oh-so-special seed for generations to come...but he apparently doesn’t find his employees’ seed as worthy.
As of this week, Twitter employees have lost much of the benefit that subsidized the cost of fertility treatments and adoption. Employees were informed via email that a company program covering up to $80,000 in lifetime costs for fertility-related treatments and/or the exorbitant costs of adoption was being cut by half, to a maximum of $40,000, according to Insider.
At the end of last year, some Twitter employees said their access to fertility treatments was already being affected by Musk’s new ownership of the company, which is bleeding money. In November, one woman formerly employed by Twitter said she was in the middle of IVF and had to stop shortly after Musk took over and she lost her job. She told Wired that Twitter had previously offered to cover $24,000 for IVF specifically in 2022 and 2023.
Wired reported that a whole “group of now ex-Twitter staff are in the same situation” as the employee. Some were able to use the IVF benefit for one cycle before losing it, but IVF typically requires at least two or three cycles to be successful. IVF can cost between $10,000 and $20,000 for a single cycle.
Musk, meanwhile, had five children via IVF with his first wife, Justine Musk. He had twins with his Neuralink employee Shivon Zillis through IVF as well, and one of his two kids with the singer Grimes was born through a surrogate. Jezebel has previously written about Musk’s obsession with procreating and his likely breeding kink: Last year, he joked about the number of kids he has, tweeting out, “Doing my best to help the underpopulation crisis,” later adding, “I hope you have big families and congrats to those who already do!”
There will be no kink-shaming here, mind you, but what does deserve a fair dose of shaming is the hypocrisy of it all. Telling people that they have a moral obligation to have big families while cutting fertility benefits—and previously firing Tesla employees for using family leave after having kids—is some sick, low-level maneuvering, even for a man who shamed his ex-wife for openly mourning the loss of their infant, then tried to lie and claim that he was the one who held the baby in its final moments.
In 2021, at roughly the same time Musk gave a talk warning that civilization would crumble unless we all started breeding right-the-fuck-now, he spoke out against the Build Back Better plan, which offered historic investments to assist with child care and family leave. He’s tried to walk a very fine line on abortion (though I’d argue his population obsession and creepy rhetoric speak volumes), but he did appear to back Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) shortly after the state implemented its 2021 abortion ban. Asked about the ban in an interview at the time, Abbott said of Musk, who had just moved Tesla’s headquarters to Texas, “Elon consistently tells me he likes the social policies in the state of Texas.”
Musk’s treatment of his employees—at Twitter and elsewhere—is ghoulish. But it’s not exactly surprising from a man who clearly thinks only he and other billionaires, not the workers they exploit, have the divine right to control over their family planning.