A number of employees at Elon Musk’s company SpaceX have reportedly been sacked after openly criticising their billionaire boss and the company culture.
The employees were given their marching orders after circulating a letter that called for a more inclusive company culture and also took aim at Musk himself, The New York Times has reported.
The letter was apparently sent to about 2,600 employees and called Musk’s recent behaviour – such as his much-publicised bid to buy Twitter and various high profile spats on the site – a ‘distraction’ and an ‘embarrassment’.
If this is as reported, it flies in the face of his much-trumpeted claim to be an advocate of free speech. For instance, Musk has said that if his takeover of Twitter is successful, we would reinstate former US president Donald Trump to the platform after he was booted off for repeatedly pushing out false information and fake news.
The letter, which was addressed to Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX’s president, also called for all of the leadership to be held equally accountable, and for the management to ‘explicitly separate itself from Elon’s personal brand.’
The employees known to have been behind the letter were sacked for making colleagues feel ‘uncomfortable, intimidated and bullied’. This came from an email sent by Shotwell, and seen by the New York Times.
Shotwell added the letter out pressure on employees to sign something that didn’t reflect their views.
Whatever the story behind it, it is unwelcome news for Musk, the world’s richest man, as his proposed takeover of Twitter has hit problems recently.
He reported has concerns about the number of fake accounts on the site – said to be about 5% – and clashed with Twitter’s management.
If Musk takes over Twitter, he says he would allow outrageous comments, as long as nothing was illegal.