SpaceX Employees Fired After Writing Letter Criticizing Elon Musk

At least five employees were fired by Elon Musk’s private rocket company SpaceX after writing and circulating an open letter that criticized the founder and called on executives to make the company’s work culture more inclusive. 

SpaceX fired the employees associated with the letter. How many employees were terminated was not detailed. 

SpaceX president Gwynne Shotwell sent an email saying the company investigated the letter and “terminated a number of employees involved.” 

Shotwell’s email said that employees who were involved with the letter were fired for making other staff feel “uncomfortable, intimidated and bullied, and/or angry because the letter pressured them to sign onto something that did not reflect their views.” 

The open letter included three demands. First, that SpaceX must swiftly and explicitly separate itself from Musk’s personal brand. Secondly, it called for SpaceX to hold all leadership equally accountable for making SpaceX “a great place to work for everyone.” And lastly, it demanded SpaceX to define and uniformly respond to all forms of unacceptable behavior. 

The open letter to SpaceX executives called Musk both a distraction and an embarrassment to the company. The letter denounced Musk’s behavior, saying that every tweet he sends “is a de facto public statement by the company.” 

Musk’s behavior on Twitter is especially renowned for being crass. 

Musk is currently pursuing a massive $44-billion bid takeover of social platform Twitter, and has made it clear his support of freer controls on speech on the site, which people fear will lead to a rise in hate speech. He even told Twitter employees the platform should allow “pretty outrageous things” as long as the content is not illegal.

Musk has been the center of a lot of controversies lately. There have recently been allegations of sexual harassment against Musk. The letter comes only a couple of weeks after a former SpaceX flight attendant accused Musk of exposing himself to her and propositioning her for sex during a massage. SpaceX paid the former attendant a $250,000 settlement. 

The letter argues that SpaceX is not living up to its so-called “No Asshole” policy, nor its zero-tolerance sexual harassment policy.

The charge against Musk was not the only time sexual harassment has been alleged at SpaceX. Last December, a former employee published an essay detailing her experience with pervasive sexual harassment at the company. She criticized the HR response to the complaints. 

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