SpaceX employees fire over letter criticizing Elon Musk

Several employees at private space company SpaceX, who circulated a letter this week criticizing Chief Executive Elon Musk’s conduct, have reportedly been fired.

In the letter, first reported by The Verge, employees complained about Musk’s “harmful Twitter behavior” and accused Hawthorne of not addressing his behavior with a sense of urgency.

“Elon’s public behavior is a frequent source of distraction and embarrassment for us, particularly in recent weeks,” the letter said.

In response, SpaceX fired some of the organizers behind the letter, the New York Times reported. The newspaper cited an email in which Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX’s president and chief operating officer, said the company was investigating and “terminated a number of employees” involved in the letter.

The letter alluded to allegations of sexual misconduct against Musk that came to light in a report by Insider last month. Musk reportedly offered an erotic massage to a flight attendant aboard a SpaceX private jet in 2016. According to insiders, the company paid $250,000 to settle the sexual misconduct lawsuit.

Musk denied the allegations.

The letter’s authors also alleged that employees faced unequal enforcement of the company’s employee conduct policies and called on the company to create a clear system for reporting and maintaining consequences for “unacceptable behavior.”

They called on the company to hold leadership accountable and to “publicly address and condemn” Musk’s behavior on Twitter, the letter said. The richest man in the world has used his Twitter account, which currently has more than 90 million followers, to post sex jokes, mock billionaires like Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos, challenge the scientific consensus on COVID-19 and his to express increasing affinity for conservative politics.

Musk has said that among SpaceX’s goals is to make humanity “multiplanetary” by enabling leisure travel in space and the colonization of Mars. The letter questions whether the corporate culture is suitable for this test.

“The collaboration we need to make life multiplanetary is incompatible with a culture that treats employees as expendable resources,” the letter reads. “Is the culture we are promoting now the one we want to bring to Mars and beyond?”

The letter was reportedly shared on an internal Microsoft Teams channel with 2,600 employees on Wednesday, according to The Verge. An unknown number of employees signed the letter.

On Thursday, Musk held a video call with Twitter employees to answer questions ahead of his proposed $43 billion purchase of the company. After the call, the Project Veritas website allegedly released private chat transcripts with comments, many critical of Musk, posted to the company’s Slack channels during the meeting.

musk answered to a right-wing activist’s tweet about the Project Veritas leak, saying, “Interesting.”

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