Elon Musk, the world's richest man whose net worth is close to $300 billion, said Sunday that he would cut a check to help end world hunger.
Musk, however, placed a stipulation on his offer that will probably not be well received by the organization that called him out.
What is the background?
Last week, David Beasley, the director of the United Nations' World Food Programme, told CNN that a $6 billion donation from the world's top billionaires — like Musk or Amazon founder Jeff Bezos — could immediately save 42 million people from starvation.
"The governments are tapped out. This is why and this is when the billionaires need to step up now on a one-time basis: Six billion dollars to help 42 million people that are literally going to die if we don't reach them," Beasley said.
"It's not complicated. I'm not asking them to do this every day, every week, every year," Beasley continued. "Just help me with them, one time. That's a $6 billion price tag."
Beasley noted that Bezos and Musk made far more than $6 billion since the pandemic began last year and said Musk's net worth recently increased by $6 billion in a single day.
"The top 400 billionaires in the United States, the net worth increase was $1.8 trillion in the past year," Beasley said. "All I'm asking for is .36% of your net worth increase. I'm for people making money, but God knows I'm all for you helping people who are in great need right now. The world is in trouble."
"Wake up, smell the coffee, and help!" Beasley pleaded.
What did Musk say?
In response, Musk said he would liquidate $6 billion worth of Tesla stock to finance Beasley's request. However, Musk added that the U.N. would need to prove that every penny donated went toward feeding people.
"If WFP can describe on this Twitter thread exactly how $6B will solve world hunger, I will sell Tesla stock right now and do it," Musk said. "But it must be open source accounting, so the public sees precisely how the money is spent."
In response, Beasley said his comments were mischaracterized. In fact, $6 billion would not solve world hunger, he said.
"Headline not accurate," Beasley responded. "$6B will not solve world hunger, but it WILL prevent geopolitical instability, mass migration and save 42 million people on the brink of starvation. An unprecedented crisis and a perfect storm due to Covid/conflict/climate crises."
Musk responded by reaffirming his commitment to transparency.
"Please publish your current & proposed spending in detail so people can see exactly where money goes," Musk said. "Sunlight is a wonderful thing."
The WFP reported more than $8.4 billion of income last year. The U.S. was responsible for more than $3.6 billion of it.