SpaceX, the private rocket company owned by Elon Musk, has sacked employees who supported the writing and distribution of an open letter denouncing the actions of its CEO on Twitter.
On Wednesday, some SpaceX employees began distributing a letter that called the billionaire’s public conduct “a frequent source of distraction and embarrassment” begging the firm to rein him in.
Three SpaceX employees who have knowledge of the situation claimed the firm had dismissed some of the letter’s organizers by Thursday, June 16 afternoon.
In an email from Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX’s president and COO, she stated that the company had investigated the letter and “terminated a number of employees involved.”
Ms. Shotwell wrote: “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.”
It was unknown how many staff were let go. SpaceX spokesperson James Gleeson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The open letter was written in response to recent allegations of sexual misbehavior leveled against Mr. Musk during his controversial takeover of Twitter.
On Thursday, he held a video chat with Twitter employees for the first time since his $44 billion takeover offer to answer their queries.
Mr Musk is seldom questioned by his own colleagues at SpaceX, said the three employees who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
This month, he sent an email to the company’s employees informing them that they must work at least 40 hours a week or risk being fired.
The open letter requested that SpaceX executives “publicly address and condemn Elon’s harmful Twitter behavior” as well as “define and uniformly respond to all forms of unacceptable behavior.”
In her email to staff, Ms. Shotwell wrote: “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.”
“Please stay focused on the SpaceX mission, and use your time to do your best work. This is how we will get to Mars.”
Source: The New York Times