Arianna Huffington slams Elon Musk and Sam Bankman-Fried as 'burnout deniers' whose intense approach is actually harming their companies

Arianna Huffington slams Elon Musk and Sam Bankman-Fried as 'burnout deniers' whose intense approach is actually harming their companies
Sam Bankman-Fried, left, and Elon Musk.Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images, Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images
  • Arianna Huffington rebuked Elon Musk and Sam Bankman-Fried as "burnout deniers."
  • In a Tuesday opinion piece, she suggested Musk's "hardcore" approach is bad for business.

Arianna Huffington lambasted Elon Musk's four-week tenure at Twitter thus far in a scathing take-down of the billionaire's "hardcore" approach to work.

In an opinion piece published in The Information on Tuesday, the businesswoman and author decried Musk and former FTX chief executive officer Sam Bankman-Fried as "burnout deniers," suggesting their intense, around-the-clock attitudes toward work have negatively affected their employees and companies.

Musk's first month as CEO at Twitter has been marred by "stunning missteps, reversals and mass defections," Huffington wrote. Less than half of the company's remaining employees opted to sign up for Musk's "extremely hardcore" vision after he issued an ultimatum.

"Musk is not just inflicting an outdated way of working on his dwindling number of employees — he's showing the downsides of a model fueled by burnout and lack of sleep in his own decision-making," said Huffington, who in 2016 founded Thrive Global, a company focused on ending the burnout epidemic.

The Tesla and SpaceX co-founder's extremism in the workplace dates back years, emails from his early days at Tesla show. Musk revived his "hardcore" language in testing Twitter employees earlier this month.


"This will mean working long hours at high intensity," Musk wrote in a late-night email to employees. "Only exceptional performance will constitute a passing grade."

Staffer's mass rebuke of Musk's ultimatum shows that "employees no longer feel they have to tolerate, let alone celebrate, this burnout-factory approach to work," Huffington said.

Musk did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

In her opinion article, the Huffington Post co-founder pointed to Bankman-Fried as another "burnout-denier."

The former cryptocurrency exchange CEO was famously known for sleeping only four hours a night on a beanbag chair next to his desk as he fielded calls from clients and investors in the middle of the night, Insider previously reported.


But Bankman-Fried's world came crashing down around him earlier this month when FTX was forced to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy after the company failed to secure a bailout following a liquidity freeze and a Reuters report that the crypto exchange had transferred billions of dollars of client funds to Bankman-Fried's Alameda Research.

The science behind burnout continues to grow stronger, Huffington wrote, but as the economy tightens, she warned CEOs to resist the temptation to "crack down" on already-stressed employees.

"We still have a lot of work to do for our culture to fully catch up to the science of how we perform at our best and thrive in all aspects of our lives," Huffington said. "Ironically, Musk's actions over the past few weeks have brought us closer to finally discrediting the delusion that burnout is the price we must pay for peak performance."