‘People Will Die’: Musk Warns About DEI Endangering Airline Passenger Safety After Boeing Scare

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Musk was responding to revelations that Boeing had implemented several DEI measures.

Billionaire Elon Musk questioned the prioritization of diversity, inclusion, and equity (DEI) initiatives in the airline industry, warning that these measures are putting the lives of passengers at significant risk.

“Do you want to fly in an airplane where they prioritized DEI hiring over your safety? That is actually happening,” Mr. Musk said in a post on X, formerly Twitter, on Jan. 11.
In another post, he wrote, “People will die due to DEI,” referring to the recent midair accident involving Alaska Airlines’ Boeing 737 Max 9 aircraft. On Jan. 5, after taking off from Portland, Oregon, a door plug of the plane’s fuselage snapped off when it was flying 16,000 feet in the air, leaving a large hole in the aircraft’s body. The cabin depressurized rapidly, forcing the plane to make an emergency landing in Portland. Some passengers suffered minor injuries.
Mr. Musk’s Jan. 11 post was in response to a series of tweets by author James Lindsay that detailed the various DEI policies implemented by Boeing.
In 2021, only “product safety,” “employee safety,” and “quality” were used as operational performance criteria to judge bonuses for the company’s executives, according to Boeing’s 2022 Proxy Statement. But in 2022, the aircraft manufacturer added “climate” and “diversity, equity, & inclusion” as extra criteria for judging operational performance.
“Up to 40% of the executives’ potential pay is in that ‘annual incentive pay program’ which is tied to hitting DEI targets. For those just catching on, DEI doesn’t have anything to do with aircraft manufacturing or safety,” Mr. Lindsay pointed out in an X post.

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“The ‘annual incentive bonus’ tied to DEI targets is more than the base salary for the CEO and CFO. It is equal to the salary for the Chief Legal Officer. These are perverse incentives for ideological projects that, at best, water down Boeing’s mission: building safe aircraft,” he added.

According to Boeing’s 2023 Proxy Statement, the company began to assess suppliers based on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors and recognized that “a diverse and inclusive supply chain helps promote economic growth across diverse communities.”
This suggests that Boeing “did not look for the best suppliers on quality and safety on objective metrics, but focused on meeting their ESG goals instead,” Mr. Lindsay stated.
In the company’s “Global Diversity & Inclusion” 2023 report, Boeing stated: “In 2022, for the first time in our company’s history, we tied incentive compensation to inclusion.

“Our goal was to achieve diverse interview slates for at least 90% of manager and executive openings. We exceeded that target with 92% of interview slates being diverse, resulting in 47 percent diverse hires at the management and executive levels.

“For 2023, we’ve raised the bar and expect at least 92.5% of those interview slates will be diverse. We do this not to hit a certain number but because meritocracy demands the opportunity to compete.”

Alaska Airlines also has diversity programs. In 2021, the airline committed to making a “more inclusive workforce” by 2025.
The company set a target of having 30 percent racial diversity among its leadership by 2025, up from 16 percent at the time. In a February 2022 post, the airline said it had bumped up racial diversity to 17.5 percent.

DEI ‘Destroying Objective Merit’

Boeing also gave restricted stock units to leaders of its Business Resource Groups (BRG) in 2022 for their “contributions to inclusion,” a practice the company intends to “continue well into the future.”

According to Boeing, BRGs are identity-focused employee groups that can be based on “ethnicity, race, age, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, or veteran status.”

“Members with shared common interests or cultural identities grow their community and skills while making a measurable difference at Boeing,” the company states. Some BRG leaders also meet quarterly to discuss the company’s “equity commitments.”

Boeing has nine BRG groups: Asian and Pacific Association, Black Employees Association, Employees Ability Awareness Association, Employees Pride Alliance, Boeing Familia, Generation to Generation, Employees Indigenous Network, Women Inspiring Leadership, and Veteran Engagement Team.

The “Global, Diversity & Inclusion” report mentions that 2022’s intern class “was the most diverse in our company’s history, with more than 50 percent from underrepresented backgrounds.”

“We’re hiring based on merit or based on skin color and identity? DEI was never about proportionate representation; it’s about destroying objective merit,” Mr. Lindsay said.

“Why does this matter? Whistleblowers from Boeing have pointed out safety concerns with Boeing’s production quality issues since 2018, but instead of prioritizing safety and fixing these issues, the company created bonuses that incentivize management to focus on hitting DEI goals.”

Ed Pierson, the former senior manager for the Boeing 737 program, has testified against the company at a congressional hearing after two 737 MAX planes crashed in separate incidents in 2018 and 2019.

“The focus away from meritocracy to DEI will likely kill thousands one day due to erosion of merit, safety, and excellence,” Mr. Lindsay said.

The Epoch Times reached out to Boeing for comment.

Complaints about diversity programs putting airlines at risk have been popping up over the past years. In an interview with The Epoch Times in 2022, eight Southwest Airlines employees said that the airline’s “woke, leftist” DEI policies would put safety at risk.

“They are compromising safety for the sake of race, gender identity, and sexual preference. … They’re risking people’s lives because of agendas,” said a Hispanic female Southwest flight attendant.



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