Editorial credit: Joe Seer / Shutterstock.com
By Emma Burleigh and Ruth Umoh | MSN, originally featured on Fortune.com
Mark Cuban doubled down on his defense of DEI as a business strategy earlier this week and took some of his fellow billionaires to task on their immigration stances.
In a weekend post on X, its owner Elon Musk criticized the influx of undocumented immigrants to the U.S. but insisted he supports legal immigration, to which the hedge fund billionaire Bill Ackman wrote, “Agreed.”
“You 2 are heroes for your support of DEI at a macro level!” Cuban wrote, going on to humorously bend their initial posts to fit a pro-DEI narrative. “Of course, we want all those legal immigrants of age to get jobs. So companies with DEI programs can include them in their applicant pools and if they are the most qualified, get a job.”
It’s not the first time Cuban has defended DEI as an important, revenue-driving business lever. Earlier this year, the former majority stakeholder of the Dallas Mavericks argued in support of DEI after headline-grabbing attacks from Ackman, refuting his claim that including diversity in hiring decisions leads to less qualified candidates.
“Diversity – means you expand the possible pool of candidates as widely as you can,” Cuban wrote on X last month. “Once you have identified the candidates, you HIRE THE PERSON YOU BELIEVE IS THE BEST.”
Cuban has stood out this year as one of the few high-profile figures publicly defending DEI against mounting scrutiny from business leaders. Musk has labeled diversity efforts as “propaganda words” that are “morally wrong,” likening DEI to racism and sexism despite his company’s own initiatives—a hypocrisy that Cuban pointed out. Ackman, the CEO of Pershing Square Capital Management, described DEI as “a political advocacy movement” in the wake of Claudine Gay’s resignation as Harvard University’s president.
In Cuban’s more recent thread in support of DEI, he echoed sentiments recently shared by JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon, emphasizing DEI’s role as a critical business strategy rather than an “ideology,” which, like any business strategy, can be executed well or poorly. “DEI implementation is a choice. How you implement it is a choice for each business,” Cuban wrote, adding: “There are plenty of companies that have done spectacularly well that have DEI programs. Look at the top performing or trillion dollar market cap stocks and find one that doesn’t have a DEI program.”
There is no fool-proof quantitative metric used to hire someone, Cuban retorted after Musk asked when the Mavericks would hire a short, white, or Asian woman. Merit is subjective, Cuban said, and picking a candidate is often “an educated guess.” The best way to approach DEI is to narrow down the best candidates and choose whoever will improve company diversity, Cuban noted, an argument that Musk conceded was valid.
“Put people in a position to succeed and then let’s all do our best to make the company successful so we all benefit,” Cuban said. “No equality of outcomes. Just aligning incentives as best we can.”