SpaceX announced it would fire employees involved in a letter rebuking Elon Musk


SpaceX, the private rocket company, on Thursday laid off employees who helped with writing and distribution an open letter They criticize the behavior of CEO Elon Musk, said three employees with knowledge of the situation.

Some SpaceX employees on Wednesday began circulating the letter denouncing Mr Musk’s activities on Twitter. The letter called the billionaire’s public behavior and tweeting “a frequent source of distraction and embarrassment” and called on the company to rein it in. Mr. Musk is currently Completed a $44 billion deal to buy Twitter.

As of Thursday afternoon, SpaceX had fired some of the letter’s organizers, according to the three employees and an email from Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX’s president and chief operating officer. In her email, obtained by The New York Times, she said the company investigated the letter and “terminated a number of employees involved.”

“The letter, prompts and overall process left employees feeling uncomfortable, intimidated and bullied and/or upset because the letter pressured them into signing something that did not reflect their views,” Ms. wrote shot well “We have too much critical work to do and we don’t need that kind of over-the-top activism.”

It was unclear how many employees were laid off. James Gleeson, a spokesman for SpaceX, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The open letter followed recently released sexual misconduct allegations against Mr Musk as part of his controversial takeover of Twitter. On Thursday, Mr Musk aimed at Twitter employees to answer their questions via video call for the first time since his takeover bid.

In May, insider reported that a flight attendant said Mr. Musk proposed to her for a sexual massage during a flight to London in 2016. The flight attendant said he also exposed himself to her and offered her a horse, according to the article, details of which were not independently confirmed by The Times.

Mr Musk called the allegations “totally untrue‘ and joked on Twitter about horses and his genitals. Last month, Mrs. Shotwell said inside an email to SpaceX employees that she “personally” believed the sexual harassment allegations against Mr. Musk were false.

At SpaceX, Mr Musk is rarely challenged by his own employees, said the three employees, who spoke on condition of anonymity. Earlier this month, he emailed employees at the company that that was the case must spend at least 40 hours in the office or face fire.

The open letter about Mr Musk’s online activities called on SpaceX executives to “publicly address and condemn Elon’s harmful Twitter conduct” and “define all forms of unacceptable behavior and respond in a consistent manner.”

In her email to employees, Ms Shotwell wrote: “It is unacceptable to bombard thousands of people throughout the organization with repeated unsolicited emails throughout the workday, asking them to sign letters and fill out unsponsored surveys.”

“Please keep your focus on the SpaceX mission and use your time to do your best,” she continued. “This is how we get to Mars.”

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