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Elon Musk’s SpaceX fires at least five critical letters

SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk arrives to see the Inspiration 4 crew, the first civilian crew to be launched, before heading to the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on Pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, USA, September 15, 2021. REUTERS / Joe Skipper / File Photo

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June 17 (Reuters) – The private rocket company SpaceX fired at least five employees after it found out they had prepared and circulated a letter criticizing founder Elon Musk and urging leaders to make the company’s culture more inclusive, said two people known with the case.

SpaceX did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

The New York Times reported on Thursday that SpaceX had fired employees associated with the letter, citing three employees with knowledge of the situation. It did not have a detailed number of employees who were laid off.

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SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell sent an email saying the company had investigated and “terminated a number of employees involved” with the letter, the New York Times said.

The newspaper said Shotwell’s email said employees involved in circulating the letter had been fired for making other employees feel “uncomfortable, intimidated and bullied, and / or angry because the letter forced them to sign something” which did not reflect their views “.

Reuters could not independently confirm this report.

Billionaire Musk is pursuing a $ 44 billion bid for Twitter and has made clear his support for freer speech control on the site. On Thursday, he told Twitter employees that the platform should allow “pretty outrageous things” as long as the content is not illegal. read more

The SpaceX letter, called “an open letter to the leaders of SpaceX”, seen by Reuters, Musk called a “distraction and embarrassment” for the company he founded.

A list of three requirements states “SpaceX must quickly and explicitly differentiate itself from Elon’s personal brand”, “hold all leaderships equally responsible for making SpaceX a great place to work for all” and “define and uniformly respond to all forms for unacceptable behavior “. read more

Musk, also head of electric car maker Tesla Inc (TSLA.O), has been in the headlines and featured in comedy monologues late at night in recent months, including over his attempts to take over Twitter, his criticism of Democrats and a reported allegation of sexual misconduct. harassment, something Musk has denied in a Twitter post.

The open letter on SpaceX, first reported by The Verge, was prepared by SpaceX employees in recent weeks and shared as an attachment to an internal “Moral Boosters” group chat that brings together thousands of employees, said a person familiar with the matter, and asked. not to be named.

Musk, also the company’s chief engineer, has been seen as a key figure in many of SpaceX’s high-profile successes, such as groundbreaking reuse of orbital rocket launchers and the return of routine human spaceflight from American soil after a nine-year hiatus.

Shotwell, who leads much of the company’s day-to-day operations, has said she will enforce SpaceX’s “zero tolerance” standards against employee harassment.

Founded by Musk in 2002, SpaceX has played a key role in the US space program, becoming the only company capable of sending NASA astronauts into space from Earth and planning to send humans to the moon for the space agency over the next decade.

SpaceX is also one of two companies the Pentagon relies on to launch into space most US military and spy satellites.

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Reporting by Joey Roulette, Eric M. Johnson, Baranjot Kaur in Bengaluru; editing by Shailesh Kuber, Emelia Sithole-Matarise and Barbara Lewis

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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