SpaceX Said to Fire Employees Involved in Letter Rebuking Elon Musk

SpaceX, a private rocket company, on Thursday fired employees who helped write and distribute an open letter criticizing the behavior of chief executive Elon Musk, three employees said with knowledge of the situation.

Some employees of SpaceX started circulating the letter, in which Mr. Musk’s activity on Twitter on Wednesday. The letter described the billionaire’s public behavior and tweets as a “frequent source of distraction and embarrassment” and called on the company to rein in him. Mr. Musk is currently negotiating a 44 billion deal to buy Twitter.

By noon on Thursday, SpaceX had fired some of the organizers of the letter, according to an email from three employees and Gwynn Shotwell, president and chief operating officer of SpaceX. In her email, obtained by The New York Times, she said the company had “investigated a number of employees associated with the letter” and terminated them.

“The letter, requests and the general process made employees feel uncomfortable, intimidated and bullied and / or angry because the letter forced them to sign something that did not reflect their views,” Ms. Shotwell wrote. “We have a very complex task to accomplish and do not require this kind of over-activation.”

It is not clear how many employees were fired. James Gleason, of SpaceX Game, did not immediately return a request for comment.

The open letter follows recent allegations of sexual misconduct against Mr. Musk amid his controversial acquisition of Twitter. On Thursday, Mr. Musk addressed Twitter employees for the first time since their takeover offer via video call to answer their questions.

In May, Insider reported that the flight attendant, Mr. During a flight to London in 2016, Musk proposed to her for a sexual massage. The flight attendant said he also exposed himself to her and offered her a horse, according to the article, the details of which have not been independently verified by The Times.

Mr. Musk denies the allegations.Totally untrue”And joked about horses and their genitals on Twitter. Last month Ms. Shotwell told SpaceX staff in an email that she “personally” believes Mr. Musk was wrong.

On SpaceX, Mr. Speaking on condition of anonymity, the three employees said Musk was rarely challenged by his own workers. Earlier this month, he notified by email to company workers that they should spend at least 40 hours in the office or face firing.

An open letter about Mr. Musk’s online activity asked that SpaceX leaders “publicly address and condemn Elon’s harmful Twitter behavior” and “define and respond equally to all forms of unacceptable behavior.”

In her email to the staff, Ms. “It is unacceptable for thousands of people in the company to be repeatedly blanketed with unsolicited emails and asked to sign letters and fill out unsolicited surveys during the working day,” Shotwell wrote.

“Please focus on the SpaceX mission, and use your time to do your best,” she continued. “This is how we get to Mars.”

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