SpaceX has fired several employees who wrote and shared a letter criticizing CEO Elon Musk’s behavior, with the company’s president criticizing the letter as “excessive activism”.
The open letter, reported for the first time by On the edge, described Musk’s behavior as “a frequent source of distraction and embarrassment for us, particularly in recent weeks.” He cites SpaceX’s “No Asshole” policy and urges the company to “publicly address and condemn Elon’s harmful behavior on Twitter.”
The letter’s writers said: “As our most prominent CEO and spokesperson, Elon is seen as the face of SpaceX – every Tweet Elon sends is a public statement of fact from the company. It is critical to make it clear to our teams and our potential talent pool that his message does not reflect our work, our mission or our values.”
Several writers of the letter were fired on Thursday afternoon, according to an email sent by SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell and seen by On the edge. The news of the dismissal was first reported by The New York Times newspaper.
In the email, Shotwell said SpaceX “fired several employees involved” in crafting the letter. “The letter, requests and the overall process made employees feel uncomfortable, intimidated and intimidated and/or angry that the letter pressured them to sign something that did not reflect their views,” Shotwell wrote. “We have a lot of critical work to do and there is no need for this kind of over-the-top activism.”
An employee who contributed to writing the letter, who asked to remain anonymous, argued that the general feeling among other employees is that Shotwell’s email is “deaf”. The employee claimed that the letter was the result of a “month of dedicated hard work and request for feedback to try to ensure that we received as much information as possible”.
We’ve reached out to SpaceX for comment and will update this story if we receive a response.
Musk has long been a volatile figure, but since his proposed takeover of Twitter in April — a $44 billion deal that has yet to be finalized — his behavior has garnered even more attention. Last month, Internal reported that SpaceX paid a flight attendant $250,000 after Musk allegedly exposed himself to her and made her a proposal. Musk later joked about the incident on Twitter, telling another user “if you touch my sausage, you might have a horse.”
You can read Shotwell’s email to the company below:
You may have received an unsolicited request from a small group of SpaceX employees for your signature on an “open letter” yesterday and your participation in a related survey. Based on the diverse feedback from employees, this upset many. That is, the letter, requests, and overall process made employees feel uncomfortable, intimidated, and intimidated and/or angry because the letter pressured them to sign something that did not reflect their views. Employees also complained that it interfered with their ability to focus and do their jobs. We have 3 launches within 37 hours to critical satellites this weekend, we have to support the astronauts we deliver to the ISS and get the Dragon cargo back into flight ready, and after receiving environmental approval earlier this week, we are on the cusp. of Starship’s first orbital launch attempt. We have a lot of critical work to do and there is no need for this kind of over-the-top activism – our current leadership team is more dedicated to ensuring we have a great and better work environment than any I have seen in my 35-year career.
We request and expect our employees to report all concerns to their leadership, senior management, HR or Legal. But covering thousands of people across the company with repeated unsolicited emails and asking them to sign letters and fill out unsponsored surveys during the workday is unacceptable, goes against our policy of documented manuals, and does not show the strong judgment necessary to work. in this challenging space transport industry. We carried out an investigation and fired several employees involved.
Sorry for this distraction. Please stay focused on the SpaceX mission and use your time at work to do your best work. That’s how we’ll get to Mars.
Update Friday, June 17, 4:20 am: The story has been updated with Shotwell’s full letter.