AP

SpaceX reported to fire employees critical of CEO Elon Musk

Jun 17, 2022, 2:22 AM | Updated: 4:42 pm

FILE - a SpaceX logo is displayed on a building on May 26, 2020, at the Kennedy Space Center in Cap...

FILE - a SpaceX logo is displayed on a building on May 26, 2020, at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla. SpaceX, the rocket ship company run by Tesla CEO Elon Musk, has fired several employees involved in an open letter that blasted the colorful billionaire for his behavior, according to media reports Friday, June 17, 2022. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)

(AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)

HAWTHORNE, Calif. (AP) — SpaceX, the rocket ship company run by Tesla CEO Elon Musk, has fired several employees involved in an open letter that blasted the colorful billionaire for his behavior, according to media reports.

The reports published Friday cited an email from Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX’s president, saying the company had terminated employees who put together and circulated the letter. The letter writers denounced Musk for actions that they said are a “frequent source of distraction and embarrassment for us, particularly in recent weeks.”

The New York Times was the first outlet to report the purge, based on information from three employees familiar with the situation. The employees were not named.

It’s unclear how many SpaceX workers lost their jobs, but Shotwell left no doubt that the company believed they had crossed an unacceptable line.

“The letter, solicitations and general process made employees feel uncomfortable, intimidated and bullied, and/or angry because the letter pressured them to sign onto something that did not reflect their views,” Shotwell wrote in her email, according to the Times . “”We have too much critical work to accomplish and no need for this kind of overreaching activism.”

The firings occurred Thursday — the same day Musk addressed Twitter employees for the first time about his $44 billion deal to add that social media service to his business empire. The purchase is in limbo while Musk tries to determine whether Twitter has been concealing the number of fake accounts on its platform.

As the Twitter drama unfolded, another report emerged t hat Musk had paid $250,000 to a flight attendant to quash a potential sexual harassment lawsuit against him. Musk denied the sexual harassment allegations, and Shotwell last month sent out an email to SpaceX employees saying she believe the accusations were false.

In recent weeks, Musk has also crudely mocked the looks of Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates on Twitter and posted a poop emoji during an online discussion with Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal.

The open letter from SpaceX employees criticizing Musk asserted that some of his tweets sent out to his 98 million followers cast the company in a poor light.

“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,” the open letter said. “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.”

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Image:The New York Giants' Willie Mays poses for a photo during baseball spring training in 1972. M...

Associated Press

Willie Mays, Giants’ electrifying ‘Say Hey Kid,’ dies at 93

Willie Mays, whose singular combination of talent, drive and exuberance made him one of baseball’s greatest players, has died. He was 93.

22 hours ago

Image: This photo provided by the Washington Department of Ecology shows a derailed BNSF train on t...

Associated Press

Judge orders BNSF to pay Washington tribe nearly $400M for trespassing with oil trains

BNSF Railway must pay the sum to a Native American tribe in Washington after it ran 100-car trains with crude oil on the tribe's reservation.

2 days ago

Photo: In this photo provided by Tieanna Joseph Cade, an amusement park ride is shown stuck with 30...

Associated Press

Crews rescue 28 people trapped upside down high on Oregon amusement park ride

Emergency crews in Oregon rescued 28 people after they were stuck dangling upside down high on a ride at a century-old amusement park.

2 days ago

juneteenth shooting texas...

Associated Press

2 killed and 6 wounded in shooting during a Juneteenth celebration in a Texas park

A shooting in a Texas park left two people dead and six wounded, including two children, on Saturday, authorities said.

3 days ago

Photo: Israeli soldiers drive a tank near the Israeli-Gaza border, in southern Israel, Wednesday, J...

Jack Jeffery, The Associated Press

8 Israeli soldiers killed in southern Gaza in deadliest attack on Israeli forces in months

An explosion in Gaza killed eight Israeli soldiers, the military said Saturday, making it the deadliest attack on Israeli forces in months.

4 days ago

Juanita Beach Kirkland...

Kathy McCormack and Nick Perry, The Associated Press

‘Tis the season for swimming and bacteria alerts in lakes, rivers

With summer about to start, many people flocking to their favorite swimming holes may also want to read up on bacteria warnings.

5 days ago

SpaceX reported to fire employees critical of CEO Elon Musk