Eva Deschamps / June 18, 2022
June 17 (Reuters) – SpaceX has fired at least five employees for writing and circulating a letter criticizing company founder Elon Musk and calling for steps to make the company more inclusive, two sources familiar with the matter said.
SpaceX did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
A small group of employees sent the letter to all of their colleagues asking for their possible signatures and participation in a survey, Gwynne Shotwell wrote in her email sent late Thursday to all staff.
Some felt uncomfortable and intimidated and/or angry because the letter prompted them to sign something that did not reflect their opinion or because the letter interfered with their ability to focus on their work, she added.
As a result, after conducting an investigation, the company terminated a number of employees involved, Shotwell says without specifying how many.
The prepared open letter, unveiled by the website The Verge, criticized Elon Musk’s behavior in the public sphere, as well as recent accusations of sexual harassment against him, as a frequent source of distraction and shame for us.
As the most prominent boss and spokesperson, Elon is considered the face of SpaceX – every tweet he sends out is de facto considered a public statement from the company, especially in recent weeks, it said.
The boss of SpaceX, but also of the electric car manufacturer Tesla and several start-ups, is a regular of controversies on Twitter with regular virulent, sometimes cryptic, sometimes insulting messages. But he has taken a new dimension since he announced in April that he wanted to buy the social network.