According to individuals familiar with the incident, spacecraft manufacturing company SpaceX dismissed at least five employees who assisted in the writing and distributing an open letter denouncing Elon Musk’s public behavior and tweeting. The open letter is reported to have circulated and signed by several SpaceX employees early this week.
The CEO’s actions were described, in the open letter, as a frequent source of distraction and “shame for us, particularly in recent weeks,” according to news reported by The Verge. It refers to the California-based spacecraft manufacturer’s “No Asshole” policy and requests more inclusivity as well as the corporation publicly confront and denounce Elon’s damaging Twitter behavior.
The letter also said that the CEO is perceived as the face of SpaceX – every Tweet that Elon sends is a de facto public statement by the firm. It said that it was important to all teams and potential talent should know that his messaging does not match their “work, mission, or values.”
According to an email written by SpaceX president Gwynne Shotwell, a handful of the letter’s drafters were sacked Thursday afternoon. The New York Times broke the news of the firing first.
Shotwell stated in the email that SpaceX has removed a number of personnel involved in the letter’s creation. The president said that they had too many important jobs to do and no time to waste on such “overreaching activism.”
One employee, who contributed to the letter but wished to remain anonymous, said that Shotwell’s email is “tone deaf” among other colleagues. The letter, according to the employee, was the result of a month of committed hard work and requesting comments to try to ensure that the employees had as much input as possible.
Musk has long been a controversial figure, but his behavior has gotten much more attention since his planned acquisition of Twitter in April – a $44 billion deal that has yet to be closed.
Last month, reports revealed that SpaceX paid a flight attendant $250,000 after Musk allegedly exposed himself and propositioned her. The billionaire later joked on Twitter about the event.