SpaceX employees recently wrote an open letter criticizing company CEO Elon Musk’s public behavior, but the letter didn’t result in the changes they were hoping for — many were promptly fired after its publication.
Futurism reports that SpaceX employees recently wrote an open letter that was circulated internally criticizing company CEO Elon Musk’s public behavior. The employees reportedly accused Musk of failing to fulfill the company’s “No Asshole,” and zero-tolerance sexual harassment policies.
The letter was addressed to SpaceX COO Gwynne Shotwell and signed by an unknown number of employees. Over 100 comments were included in the letter and many employees reportedly agreed with the points made in the letter.
The letter states: “Elon’s behavior in the public sphere is a frequent source of distraction and embarrassment for us, particularly in recent weeks. 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 continues to state: “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.”
The letter makes a number of demands, including asking SpaceX to “hold all leadership equally accountable” for publicly worrying behavior and “clearly define what exactly is intended by SpaceX’s ‘no-asshole’ and ‘zero tolerance’ policies and enforce them consistently.”
The letter seems to be prompted by recent allegations that Musk paid a flight attendant $250,000 after she refused his sexual advances during a private jet flight. In December, another letter from a former SpaceX engineer named Ashley Kosak was made public in which she claimed that she “couldn’t stop getting sexually harrassed” at the company.
The New York Times notes that a number of employees were promptly fired for taking part in the letter, surprising given Musk’s alleged dedication to free speech and diverse opinions.
SpaceX COO Gwynne Shotwell confirmed to the NYT that the company investigated and “terminated a number of employees involved” with the letter. Shotwell stated:
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. We have too much critical work to accomplish and no need for this kind of overreaching activism.
In an email to staff, Shotwell stated: “Blanketing thousands of people across the company with repeated unsolicited emails and asking them to sign letters and fill out unsponsored surveys during the work day is not acceptable.” She added: “Please stay focused on the SpaceX mission, and use your time to do your best work. This is how we will get to Mars.”
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