Elon Musk’s SpaceX fired at least five in a critical message

SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk arrives to bid farewell to the Inspiration 4 crew, the first civilian crew to be sent into orbit, before they head for a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on Pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, United States, September 15, 2021. (Reuters) / Joe Skipper / Photo File

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June 17 (Reuters) – Private rocket company SpaceX has fired at least five employees after it discovered they had drafted and distributed a letter criticizing founder Elon Musk and urging executives to make the company’s culture more inclusive, two people familiar with the matter said.

SpaceX did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

The New York Times reported Thursday that SpaceX has fired employees associated with the letter, citing three employees familiar with the situation. It did not give details of the number of employees who were laid off.

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The New York Times said Gwen Shotwell, president of SpaceX, sent an email saying that the company investigated and “terminated a number of employees involved” in the letter.

Shotwell’s email said employees involved in circulating the letter were fired because they made other employees feel “uncomfortable, intimidated, intimidated and/or angry because the letter pressured them to sign something that did not reflect their views,” the newspaper said.

Reuters could not independently confirm this report.

The letter, titled “An Open Letter to SpaceX Executives” and seen by Reuters, called Musk a “distraction and embarrassment” for the company he founded.

In a list of three demands, it said “SpaceX must quickly and openly separate itself from Elon’s personal brand,” “all leadership bear equal responsibility to make SpaceX a great place to work for all” and “identify and respond uniformly to all forms of unauthorized behavior.” Acceptable “. Read more

Musk, who is also the president of electric car maker Tesla (TSLA.O)has made headlines and late-night comedy monologues in recent months, including about his bid to buy social media giant Twitter and an allegation of sexual harassment.

Musk denied the accusation on Twitter.

The SpaceX open letter, which was first reported by The Verge, was drafted by SpaceX employees in recent weeks and shared as an attachment to an internal “morale booster” group chat that brings together thousands of employees, a person familiar with the matter said, asking not to be named. .

Musk, who is also the company’s chief engineer, is seen as a pivotal figure in many of SpaceX’s notable successes, such as its pioneering reuse of orbital rocket boosters and the return of routine human spaceflight from American soil after a nine-year hiatus. .

SpaceX president Gwen Shotwell leads many of the company’s day-to-day business operations. It has pledged to enforce SpaceX’s “zero tolerance” standards against employee harassment.

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Additional reporting by Joey Rowlett and Eric M. Johnson and Barangut Kaur in Bengaluru; Editing by Shalish Cooper, Emilia Sithole Mataris and Barbara Lewis

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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