In what was a surprisingly dynamic and surprising profile of Elon Musk and his car company Tesla,’ correspondent Leslie Stahl got some unexpected truths and explanations from the enigmatic entrepreneur and inventor on last Sunday’s 60 Minutes.
What was more shocking than the revelation that he had a terrible childhood and was a victim of mental abuse by his father is that I realized how rare it is to see a man—especially a man in power admit such abuse so freely—it’s done so frequently by women on various media that it shook me.
Last month Musk told Rolling Stone that his father Errol, “though a brilliant engineer, was a terrible human being.”
“You have no idea,” the Tesla CEO and founder of three other billion-dollar companies continued, his voice trembling with emotion, according to the magazine’s report.
He told Stahl in the middle of the interview that his childhood was terrible.
What followed was this exchange:
Lesley Stahl: Why was it terrible?
Elon Musk: It was very violent. It was not a happy childhood.
Lesley Stahl: I do know that you were bullied at school.
Elon Musk: I was almost beaten to death, if you would call that bullied.
And he’s described his father as emotionally abusive.
Elon Musk: My father has serious issues.
Lesley Stahl: OK. Well, so you didn’t have a happy childhood.
Elon Musk: No.
It was difficult to tell if Musk was simply being evasive about more specific questions about his “erratic” behavior and Stahl’s pointed questions about the way he’s run his Tesla car business but it also just shows how rare emotional traumatic outbursts are visible by men in power.
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