Scotland’s First Minister has said “racists are foaming at the mouth of my very existence” after the world’s richest man tweeted allegations against him.
Elon Musk described Humza Yousaf as a “blatant racist” over a 2020 speech in which the SNP leader took aim at “structural racism” in Scotland.
The South African billionaire was reacting to Yousaf’s address to the Scottish Parliament in the wake of George Floyd’s death where he highlighted the lack of non-white people in key roles in Scotland.
The Tesla CEO reacted to a tweet sharing the video which claimed the First Minister “despises white people”.
“What a blatant racist,” Musk replied.
According to X – formerly Twitter, but renamed by Musk after he bought the platform – the post has been viewed more than 500,000 times while the video has been seen 7.2m times
Hours later, Yousaf tweeted “racists foaming at them outh at my very existence” alongside a GIF of Navid from Still Game dancing.
During his 2020 speech, the then justice secretary said Scotland had a problem with structural racism as he pointed out the number of high-profile roles filled only by white people.
“In 99% of their meetings I go to, I am the only non-white person in the room,” he said.
“But why are we so surprised when the most senior positions in Scotland are filled almost exclusively by those who are white?
“Take my portfolio alone. The Lord President: white. The lord justice clerk: white. Every High Court judge: white. The lord advocate: white.
“The solicitor general: white. The chief constable: white. Every deputy chief constable: white. Every assistant chief constable: white. The head of the Law Society: white. The head of the Faculty of Advocates: white. Every prison governor: white.
“And not just justice. The chief medical officer: white. The chief nursing officer: white. The chief veterinary officer: white.
“The chief social work adviser: white. Almost every trade union in this country, headed by people who are white. In the Scottish Government, every director general is white.
“Every chair of every public body is white. That is not good enough.”
A fact check by the Reuters news agency said the clip has been “misrepresented by those suggesting it shows the Scottish National Party politician arguing that Scotland contains too many white people”.
It said: “Yousaf’s speech was given as part of a wider discussion about racial injustice and the lack of people of colour in positions of power in the Scottish Parliament and Government.
“The speech did not assert that white people make up too large a proportion of Scotland’s overall population.”
A spokesperson for the First Minister said: “The First Minister has been on the receiving end of racist hate, abuse and death threats his entire life, and has stood firm against hatred and bigotry, of any kind, throughout.
“Sadly, much of the racist abuse and threats of violence the First Minister faces are directed his way on X – formerly known as Twitter.
“Mr Musk should use his position to tackle racism and hatred that goes unchecked on the social media platform he owns.”
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