SpaceX has fired several employees involved in the preparation of an “open letter” criticizing in particular the behavior of Elon Musk in the public sphere, according to a message sent by the director of operations of the space exploration company whose existence and the contents were confirmed to AFP by an employee.
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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 at the end of the day to all staff.
Some felt “uncomfortable and intimidated and/or angry because the letter encouraged them to sign something that did not reflect their opinion” or because the letter “interfered with their ability to concentrate on their work” , adds the manager.
However, she believes, “we have too much essential work to do and do not need this kind of excessive activism”.
After conducting an investigation, the company has therefore “terminated a number of employees involved”, says Ms. Shotwell without specifying how many.
The open letter in preparation, revealed by the website The Verge, criticized Elon Musk’s behavior in the public sphere, as well as recent accusations of sexual harassment 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, particularly in recent weeks.” was it written.
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 controversies on Twitter with regular virulent messages, sometimes cryptic, sometimes insulting. But it has taken on a new dimension since announcing in April that it wanted to buy the social network.