SpaceX fires staff who wrote open letter complaining about Musk

SpaceX has fired various staff who wrote and shared a letter criticizing the habits of CEO Elon Musk, with the corporate’s president criticizing the letter as “overreaching activism.”

The open letter, first reported by means of The Verge, described Musk’s habits as “a frequent source of distraction and embarrassment for us, particularly in recent weeks.” It cites SpaceX’s “No Asshole” coverage and asks the corporate to “publicly address and condemn Elon’s harmful Twitter behavior.”

Said the letter writers: “As our CEO and most prominent spokesperson, Elon is seen as the face of SpaceX — every Tweet that Elon sends is a de facto public statement by the company. It is critical to make clear to our teams and to our potential talent pool that his messaging does not reflect our work, our mission, or our values.”

Quite a lot of the letter’s drafters had been fired Thursday afternoon, in keeping with an e mail despatched by means of SpaceX president Gwynne Shotwell and observed by means of The Verge. News of the firing was once first reported by means of The New York Times.

In the e-mail, Shotwell stated SpaceX had “terminated a number of employees involved” in crafting the letter. “The letter, solicitations and general process made employees feel uncomfortable, intimidated and bullied, and/or angry because the letter pressured them to sign onto something that did not reflect their views,” wrote Shotwell. “We have too much critical work to accomplish and no need for this kind of overreaching activism.”

One worker who had enter in writing the letter, who requested to stay nameless, argued that the overall sentiment amongst different staff is that Shotwell’s e mail is “tone deaf.” The worker claimed that the letter was once the results of a “month of dedicated hard work and soliciting feedback to try and make sure we got as much input as possible.”

We’ve reached out to SpaceX for remark and can replace this tale if we listen again.

Musk has lengthy been a unstable determine, however since his proposed acquisition of Twitter in April — a $44 billion deal that but to be finalized — his habits has attracted much more consideration. Last month, Insider reported that SpaceX paid a flight attendant $250,000 after Musk allegedly uncovered himself to her and propositioned her. Musk later joked in regards to the incident on Twitter, telling any other person “if you touch my wiener, you can have a horse.”

You can learn Shotwell’s e mail to the corporate underneath:

You can have won an unsolicited request from a small staff of SpaceX staff to your signature on an “open letter” the day before today and your participation in a comparable survey. Based on numerous worker comments, this has disappointed many. That is, the letter, solicitations and normal procedure made staff really feel uncomfortable, intimidated and bullied, and/or offended since the letter harassed them to signal onto one thing that didn’t mirror their perspectives. Employees additionally complained that it interfered with their talent to concentrate on and do their paintings. We have 3 launches inside of 37 hours for crucial satellites this weekend, we need to give a boost to the astronauts we dropped at the ISS and get shipment Dragon again to the flight-ready, and after receiving environmental approval early this week, we’re at the cusp of the primary orbital release try of Starship. We have an excessive amount of crucial paintings to perform and little need for this sort of overreaching activism — our present management group is extra devoted to making sure we’ve got an ideal and ever-improving paintings surroundings than any I’ve observed in my 35-years occupation.

We solicit and be expecting our staff to file all issues to their management, senior control, HR, or Legal. But blanketing hundreds of folks around the corporate with repeated unsolicited emails and asking them to signal letters and fill out unsponsored surveys all through the paintings day is unacceptable, is going in opposition to our documented guide coverage, and does now not display the robust judgement had to paintings on this very difficult area transportation sector. We carried out an investigation and feature terminated various staff concerned.

I’m sorry for this distraction. Please keep centered at the SpaceX challenge, and use your time at paintings to do your absolute best paintings. This is how we can get to Mars.

Update Friday 17 June, 4:20AM: The tale has been up to date with Shotwell’s complete letter.

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