SpaceX employees denounce CEO Musk, calling him a “distraction” – letter

Elon Musk attends the opening ceremony of the new Tesla Giga plant for electric vehicles in Gruenheide, Germany, March 22, 2022. Patrick Bloll/Paul via REUTERS/File Photo

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ORLANDO, Fla., June 16 (Reuters) – A group of SpaceX employees mocked illustrious billionaire CEO Elon Musk as a “distraction and embarrassment” in an internal letter to executives.

Musk, who is also the president of electric car maker Tesla(TSLA.O)has made headlines and late-night comedy monologues in recent months for the turbulent pursuit of Buy social media giant Twitterwhich is a reported sexual harassment allegation who was denied by Musk As well as raw comments online and a Invasion of political discourse.

“Elon’s behavior in the public sphere is a frequent source of distraction and embarrassment for us, particularly in recent weeks,” the letter read, which does not specifically mention any disagreement. A copy of the letter was provided to Reuters.

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“As our CEO and featured speaker, Elon is seen as the face of SpaceX – every tweet Elon sends is a de facto public statement by the company,” the letter added.

SpaceX did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The open letter, which The Verge previously reported, was drafted by SpaceX employees in recent weeks and shared as an attachment to an internal “moral boosters” group chat, which includes thousands of employees, according to a person familiar with the matter.

It was not clear who wrote the letter or how many employees were involved in drafting it.

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In a list of three demands, the letter says, “SpaceX must quickly and openly separate itself from Elon’s personal brand.” “All leadership has an equal responsibility to make SpaceX a great place to work for everyone” and “to uniformly identify and respond to all forms of unacceptable behavior,” she added.

On Twitter, Musk denied and ridiculed the reported accusation that he sexually harassed a flight attendant on a private jet in 2016. Some of his tweets showed rudeness that embarrassed and made some SpaceX employees grumble, according to three people familiar with private discussions among the workers.

“He often doesn’t realize how something he says can affect others,” a SpaceX employee said of Musk. “The message is collective ‘Hey! We’re getting some criticism for things that have nothing to do with us.'”

The SpaceX employee said that many SpaceX employees are frustrated by the controversies raised by Musk, yet “remain focused and excited about the future.”

Musk, who is also the company’s chief engineer, is seen as a pivotal figure in many of SpaceX’s notable successes, such as reusing orbital rocket boosters and returning routine human spaceflights from US soil after a nine-year hiatus.

SpaceX president Gwen Shotwell leads many of the company’s day-to-day business operations. After previous workplace dustings, it pledged to enforce SpaceX’s “zero tolerance” standards against employee harassment.

Speaking about leadership at Stanford University in May, I asked Shotwell about how she had managed the crises, saying “employees were screaming to hear from me” about the sexual harassment allegations reported about Musk and that she addressed their concerns in a company-wide email.

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“I have to talk to my staff,” Shotwell said. “They’re the reason SpaceX is what it is, and I care deeply about them.”

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(Reporting by Joe Rowlett) Editing by David Gregorio

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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