Elon Musk-led SpaceX on Thursday afternoon fired a number of its employees who wrote an open letter criticizing what they see as the entrepreneur's egregious behavior, the New York Times reported.
What Happened: The news of the firing was shared in a letter to employees by SpaceX president Gwynne Shotwell.
"That is, the letter, solicitations and general process made employees feel uncomfortable, intimidated and bullied, and/or angry," the executive said. She attributed the reaction to the pressure the employees were under to sign something that did not reflect their views.
"We have too much critical work to accomplish and no need for this kind of overreaching activism — our current leadership team is more dedicated to ensuring we have a great and ever-improving work environment than any I have seen in my 35-years career," Shotwell said.
Why It Matters: SpaceX employees, representing varied gender, ethnicity, seniority and technical roles, earlier said Musk's public behavior is a frequent source of "distraction and embarrassment" for them, the Verge reported Thursday morning, along with a copy of the letter the publication managed to access.
The employees cited the recent sexual harassment allegations against the SpaceX CEO — who also leads Tesla, Inc. TSLA — and Musk's frequent tweets that are seen as "de facto public statements" by the company.
The employees also put together actionable items, including publicly condemning Musk's behavior, holding all leadership equally accountable, and defining and uniformly responding to all forms of unacceptable behavior.
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