Private rocket company SpaceX has fired at least five employees after it found they had drafted and circulated a letter criticizing founder Elon Musk and urging executives to make the firm’s culture more inclusive, two people familiar with the matter said.
Some employees of SpaceX began circulating the letter, which denounced Mr. Musk’s activity on Twitter, on Wednesday.
The letter asked the company to control Elon Musk’s public behavior and tweeting ,which they claimed to be a source of frequent distraction and embarrassment
According to an email from the company’s president and operating officer, Gwynne Shotwell and also as confirmed by the three employees, SpaceX dismissed some of the letter’s organizers by Thursday
SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell sent an email saying the company had investigated and “terminated a number of employees involved” with the letter, the New York Times said.
The newspaper said Shotwell’s email said employees involved with circulating the letter had been fired for making other staff feel “uncomfortable, intimidated and bullied, and/or angry because the letter pressured them to sign onto something that did not reflect their views” Shotwell said in the email.
“We have too much critical work to accomplish and no need for this kind of overreaching activism.
The upheaval is unusual for the rocket-launch and satellite-communications company, which Musk has maintained a tight grip over since founding it two decades ago. Space Exploration Technologies Corp., which has roughly 12,000 employees, serves private customers as well as government agencies including NASA.
Musk, also CEO of electric-vehicle maker Tesla Inc., regularly generates controversy, whether over his stances on overtly political topics, crass tweets or references to drug culture. Last month, Insider reported that SpaceX had paid an employee $250,000 (€240,000) to settle a claim she was sexually harassed by Musk in 2016.
He has pushed back against the allegations, calling them “utterly untrue.” Musk also is in a contentious process to acquire Twitter Inc. for $44bn. He met with employees Thursday for the first time, where he said people should be allowed to say “pretty outrageous things” on the social media platform.