SpaceX has fired several employees involved in the drafting of an “open letter” that particularly criticizes Elon Musk’s behavior in the public sphere, according to a message sent by the chief operating officer of the space exploration company, the existence and content of which was confirmed to AFP by an employee. A “small group” of employees sent this letter to all their colleagues asking for their possible signature and their participation in a survey, writes Gwynne Shotwell in her email sent Thursday, June 16, at the end of the day to all employees. .
Some felt “uncomfortable and intimidated and/or angry because the letter urged them to sign something that did not reflect their opinion,” or because the letter “interfered with their ability to concentrate on their work,” the executive added. However, she believes “we have too much important work to do and don’t need this kind of excessive activism”. After conducting an investigation, the company has therefore “fired a number of employees involved”, says Ms Shotwell, without specifying how many.
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“A frequent source of distraction and shame for us”
The open letter in preparation, revealed by the website The Verge, criticized Elon Musk’s behavior in public, as well as recent sexual harassment allegations against him, as “a frequent source of distraction and shame for us”. “As the most prominent boss and spokesperson, Elon is considered the face of SpaceX, every tweet he sends is considered a de facto public statement coming from the company, especially in recent weeks,” he said.
SpaceX did not immediately respond to a request from AFP. The boss of SpaceX, but also of the electric car manufacturer Tesla and several start-ups, is a regular in controversy on Twitter with regular virulent messages, sometimes cryptic, sometimes insulting. But it has taken on a new dimension since it announced in April that it would buy the social network.
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