Tech entrepreneur Elon Musk has fired several mutinous employees at his aerospace company SpaceX after an open letter emerged that trashed him as “embarrassing” and “distracting” over his posts on Twitter.
The circulated letter criticizes Musk – SpaceX’s founder, CEO, and chief engineer – and urges executives to make the firm’s culture more “inclusive.”
The New York Times reported on Thursday that SpaceX had fired employees associated with the letter.
The newspaper cites three employees with knowledge of the situation.
It does not detail the number of employees who have been dismissed.
SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell sent an email saying the company had investigated and “terminated a number of employees involved” with the letter, the New York Times said.
The employees involved in circulating the letter had been 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,” Shotwell’s email said, according to the Times.
Billionaire Musk is currently pursuing a $44-billion bid for Twitter and has made clear his plans to restore free speech on the social media platform.
On Thursday, he told Twitter employees the platform should allow “pretty outrageous things” as long as the content is not illegal.
The SpaceX letter, headed “an open letter to the Executives of SpaceX,” called Musk a “distraction and embarrassment” to the company he founded.
In a list of three demands, it said “SpaceX must swiftly and explicitly separate itself from Elon’s personal brand,” “hold all leadership equally accountable to making SpaceX a great place to work for everyone” and “define and uniformly respond to all forms of unacceptable behavior.”
Some news: SpaceX investigated the employees who wrote and distributed an open letter criticizing Elon Musk’s Twitter habit. Some of those employees have been fired. https://t.co/I68H1TaXAj
— Ryan Mac 🙃 (@RMac18) June 17, 2022
Musk, also head of electric automaker Tesla, has also recently made headlines for his criticism of Democrats in recent months.
As Slay News reported earlier this week, Musk announced that he voted Republican for the first time and declared that a “massive red wave” is coming in November.
The open letter at SpaceX, first reported by The Verge, was drafted by SpaceX employees in recent weeks and shared as an attachment in an internal “Morale Boosters” group chat.
The group brings together thousands of employees.
Musk has been viewed as a central figure in many of SpaceX’s high-profile successes, such as pioneering the re-use of orbital rocket boosters and bringing back routine human spaceflight from U.S. soil after a nine-year hiatus.
Shotwell, who leads much of the company’s day-to-day business, has said she will enforce SpaceX’s “zero tolerance” standards against employee harassment.
Founded by Musk in 2002, SpaceX has played a central role in the U.S. space program, becoming the only company capable of launching NASA astronauts into space from U.S. soil and planning to send humans to the moon for the space agency within the next decade.
SpaceX is also one of two companies on which the Pentagon depends to launch into space the bulk of U.S. military and spy satellites.