Elon Musk's Long-Time Assistant Exposes The Unjust Reason She Was Fired

Seems like a cruel way to fire her.

Elon Musk Kathy Hutchins / Din Mohd Yaman / Shutterstock

A long-time assistant to Elon Musk revealed the alleged reason the Tesla CEO let her go.

Mary Beth Brown worked under Musk for 12 years, and during that time, she managed the billionaire’s schedules across both SpaceX and Tesla, helped him with business matters and managed public relations.

According to biographer Ashlee Vance, who wrote the book “Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX and the Quest for a Fantastic Future,” Brown asked Musk for a raise in early 2014.


Allegedly, she wanted the same pay as some of Musk’s top executives at SpaceX.

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Musk came up with a test to decide whether or not he should give Brown a raise. He told her to take a two-week vacation and took over her duties himself during that time.

When she returned, Musk told her he didn’t need her services.

Elon Musk's assistant claimed she was fired with no warning.

“When she got back, my conclusion was just that the relationship was not going to work anymore,” Musk allegedly said. “Twelve years is a good run for any job. She’ll do a great job for someone.”


Vance claims that the firing made people around the company feel uneasy. To them, it confirmed the rumors of Musk’s cruel approach to business.

Justine Musk, Elon’s ex-wife, shared her experiences with Brown on her Quora profile in 2015. 

“MB [Brown] was an exceptional and devoted employee of Elon's and lovely to deal with on a personal level,” Justine said. “She gave her life to the job — and to our family — and the news of her departure was a shock to me.

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“Wherever MB is and whatever she is doing, I hope her life is fabulous," Justine continued. "She and I have not always been on the same side, but I have — and will always have — tremendous respect for that remarkable woman.”


Elon Musk refuted the claims about Brown’s firing.

Business Insider posted a tweet in 2017 promoting an article about the relationship between Elon and Brown, as described in Vance’s biography.

In response, Elon posted a series of tweets discrediting both the article and parts of Vance’s book.

“Ashlee Vance's biography is mostly correct, but also rife with errors & never independently fact-checked, despite my request that he do so,” Elon said. “Of all the bogus anecdotes, this one troubles me the most. Ashlee never actually ran this story by me or my assistant. It is total nonsense.


“Mary Beth was an amazing assistant for over 10 yrs, but as company complexity grew, the role required several specialists vs one generalist," he continued. "MB was given 52 weeks of salary & stock in appreciation for her great contribution & left to join a small firm, once again as a generalist.”

In a separate thread, Elon says that there are “dozens of bogus or half-true anecdotes in the book.”

However, he adds that only a handful of those anecdotes actually bother him.


Amidst the attack on his credibility, Vance defended his claims in an e-mail to CNBC Make It.

“That anecdote is very well sourced. I stand behind that story and, of course, the entire book,” Vance said.

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Jonathan Alfano is a writer who focuses on news and entertainment topics. Follow him on Twitter to keep up with his content.