Experts cringe at billionaire’s claim that MLK would have opposed DEI efforts

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Chris Metzler, an expert on diversity, equity and inclusion, said he did not flinch when he learned that billionaire Bill Ackman had said Martin Luther King Jr., whose life was committed to civil and equal rights, would have “opposed” the ideology of DEI. 

Metzler, who created certification courses in diversity, equity and inclusion, or DEI, at Georgetown and Cornell universities, called the remarks “just ridiculous, but not surprising. He and they — because he’s not alone in this — want to take the ‘content of your character’ part of that historic speech out of context to fit their narrative. It’s wrong.”

Speaking with X owner Elon Musk and Rep. Dean Phillips of Minnesota, a long-shot Democratic presidential candidate, on the federal holiday celebrating King’s birthday, Ackman called the “DEI movement” an ideology that went against the tenets of King’s 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech. 

Ackman, a hedge fund manager, has been at the forefront of an effort to delegitimize DEI programs, and he was integral to the campaign to oust Claudine Gay as the president of Harvard University. Gay was the first Black person to hold that position. Ackman also wrote in a lengthy post on X that “DEI is racist.”