SpaceX fired at least five employees after it found they had drafted and circulated a letter criticizing founder Elon Musk which urged executives to make the firm’s culture more inclusive.
The New York Times reports that the company fired employees associated with the letter, citing three employees with knowledge of the situation.
The Times said SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell sent an email saying the company had investigated and
terminated a number of employees involved”
The newspaper said Shotwell’s email said employees involved with 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”.
SpaceX fired employees who helped write and distribute an open letter criticizing Elon Musk’s public behavior and tweeting, said three employees with knowledge of the situation. https://t.co/WWxZRuXEzj— The New York Times (@nytimes) June 17, 2022
Hundreds of employees signed the letter that was first reported by The Verge. Seen by Reuters, the SpaceX letter was headed;
“An open letter to the Executives of SpaceX”
It called Musk a
distraction and embarrassment”
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”
- “define and uniformly respond to all forms of unacceptable behavior”
Musk, has been in the headlines and featured in late-night comedy monologues in recent months, including over his quest to take over Twitter, his criticism of Democrats and a reported allegation of sexual harassment, which Musk has denied.
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.
A review of the SpaceX letter, and why it got people fired.— Peter Hague PhD (@peterrhague) June 18, 2022
Near the start it makes it clear this is a DEI issue they feel isn’t being addressed. Fair enough – but how they want it addressed is significant (1/7) pic.twitter.com/VOBrYi6ofW
(Photo, Spacex; via CNN)