SpaceX employees were fired because they signed an open letter criticizing the company’s CEO. Informal rumors reported that employees were fired after the document was shared in an internal chat.
The open letter was first published on an internal website at noon, and then it was shared with a variety of employees in Microsoft Teams. The letter writers had some bold statements about how SpaceX could be more professional, by trying to distance themselves from Musk’s Twitter presence as well as do better to hold executives accountable.
The Writers saw that they got 3,000 unique visitors to their site
Employees helped craft the letter and were given the option to sign onto it by taking a survey or scanning a QR code.
The letter was distributed through the developer’s in-group channels before being shared with 2,600 members. It had plans for physical copies, but before distribution began, there were concerns about perceptions of union organizing and video cameras revealing to who posted them. The writers also saw that 3,000 unique viewers viewed their site before it got shut down.
The letter was signed by 404 people, but the petition reached more than that that wanted to sign. However, many were not in a position to purchase to risk getting fired. In 2017, Tesla fired an employee for distributing pamphlets to encourage Tesla employees to unionize. Musk also tweeted about forming a “hardcore litigation department” where Tesla would initiate lawsuits on their own.
Five employees were fired for their involvement with the letter. This can be verified by (Shotwell’s) email to the company condemning the document.
With one spokesperson claiming that the letter is creating a distraction and another, who ostensibly has more experience in the field, dismissing it as activism.
Space exploration company, SpaceX employees sign letter denouncing Elon Musk’s behavior
In her email, Shotwell expressed that those not involved in the letter felt intimidated and pressured by it. Two anonymous authors of the letter refute this claim. They say they simply posted the letter to a message board and asked for support.
Someone who wants to remain anonymous said, “There was no pressure applied to anyone to collect signatures. The open letter either stands on its own or it doesn’t.”
The news of the employees’ firings has gone through all levels of the company, and a few of the current employees have expressed their disappointment that the company had to take such drastic measures.
‘Moving forward, people who disagree with Elon Musk will need to keep their mouths shut or leave SpaceX.’
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