Employees who criticized Elon Musk in a letter have been sacked

SpaceX has fired several employees involved in the preparation of an “open letter” criticizing in particular the behavior of Elon Musk in the public sphere, according to a message sent by the director of operations of the space exploration company whose existence and the contents were confirmed to Agence France-Presse by an employee.

A “small group” of employees sent this letter to all their colleagues asking for their possible signature and their participation in a survey, writes Gwynne Shotwell in her email sent Thursday at the end of the day to all staff. Some felt “uncomfortable and intimidated and/or angry because the letter urged them to sign something that did not reflect their opinion” or because the letter “interfered with their ability to concentrate on their work” . However, she believes, “we have too much essential work to do and do not need this kind of excessive activism”.

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“A frequent source of distraction and shame”

After conducting an investigation, the company therefore dismissed a number of employees involved, without specifying how many. According to the media The Verge, the open letter in preparation 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 CEO and most prominent spokesperson, Elon Musk is considered the face of SpaceX – every tweet he sends is considered a de facto public statement coming from the company, particularly in recent weeks,” was it written there.

SpaceX did not immediately respond to a request from AFP. The boss of SpaceX, but also of the electric car manufacturer Tesla and several start-ups, is a regular in controversies on Twitter with regular virulent messages, sometimes cryptic, sometimes insulting. But it has taken on a new dimension since announcing in April that it wanted to buy the social network.

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