UPDATED 6/17, 1:52 p.m. ET: At least five SpaceX employees associated with the internal letter criticizing Elon Musk have been fired, Reuters reports.
The dismissals were first reported by the New York Times, but it was unclear how many employees were let go. SpaceX president Gwynne Shotwell explained these individuals were fired because they made their colleagues feel “uncomfortable, intimidated and bullied, and/or angry because the letter pressured them to sign onto something that did not reflect their views.”
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“Elon’s behavior in the public sphere is a frequent source of distraction and embarrassment for us, particularly in recent weeks,” the letter reads. “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.”
The letter comes in wake of his involvement in a string of controversial moments, punctuated by an Insider report alleging a former female SpaceX flight attendant received $250,000 as part of a severance agreement following a sexual misconduct allegation against Musk. The SpaceX CEO has also been engaged in a very public acquisition of Twitter that most recently resulted in shareholders filing a class action lawsuit late last month in response to Elon’s attempt to pay less than the agreed upon $44 billion deal.
Musk, SpaceX, and Tesla were also recently accused of being “engaged in a crypto pyramid scheme by way of Dogecoin cryptocurrency” in a $258 billion lawsuit.
The letter argues that SpaceX has been falling short in its “No Assholes” and zero-tolerance sexual harassment policy. The employees outlined three “action items,” beginning with SpaceX sharing a public condemnation of “Elon’s harmful Twitter behavior.” The company should also “hold all leadership equally accountable” and “clearly define what exactly is intended by SpaceX’s ‘no-asshole’ and ‘zero tolerance’ policies and enforce them consistently.”