The Verge gleefully reported yesterday on an “open letter” written by SpaceX employees and circulated on the company’s internal chat system, criticizing Elon Musk’s public statements and urging “the company to better address executive leadership behavior as well as sexual harassment complaints.”
An open letter to SpaceX decrying CEO Elon Musk’s recent behavior has sparked open discussion among the company’s employees in an internal chat system. Employees are being encouraged to sign onto the letter’s suggestions, either publicly or anonymously, with a signed version of the letter to be delivered to the desk of SpaceX president Gwynne Shotwell.
The letter, reviewed by The Verge, describes how Musk’s actions and the recent allegations of sexual harassment against him are negatively affecting SpaceX’s reputation. The document claims that employees “across the spectra of gender, ethnicity, seniority, and technical roles have collaborated on” writing the letter. It’s not known which SpaceX employees wrote the letter; the employees who posted the letter in the internal chat system have not responded to requests for comment.
“Elon’s behavior in the public sphere is a frequent source of distraction and embarrassment for us, particularly in recent weeks,” the letter states. “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 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.”
And today, the Wall Street Journal reported on the company’s response:
SpaceX fired several employees involved in a letter that criticized Chief Executive Elon Musk and the way the company applies internal rules, according to an email to staff from SpaceX’s president and people familiar with it.
Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX’s president, said the company conducted an investigation and decided to terminate a number of employees who participated in the effort, according to the email, a copy of which was viewed by The Wall Street Journal. Her email didn’t say how many people the company let go, and that number couldn’t immediately be determined.