Elon Musk may be the wealthiest man on the planet and the CEO of multiple billion-dollar companies, but SpaceX staff want him to be accountable for his actions, according to an open letter signed by many employees denouncing their boss’ behavior.
Using the company’s internal chat system, the aggrieved staffers contend that Musk’s recent words and actions affect the perception of everybody associated with the space exploration company.
Musk is more or less the face of SpaceX, as he often uses his personal Twitter accounts to make announcements concerning the company’s operations.
In a letter that employees are being invited to sign either anonymously or openly, which would be delivered to the company’s president Gwynne Shotwell, Musk’s recent allegations of sexual harassment were outlined. This was the recent allegation of a $250,000 settlement to hush a flight attendant that accused Musk of indecently exposing himself to her. Musk denied the accusation, and Shotwell swiftly came to his defense.
The letter allegedly was written by a group of employees representing a wide range of the staff. However, the identities of the actual writers have not been revealed, according to The Verge, which obtained a copy of the letter.
The letter also alluded to Musk’s frequent use of the social media platform he is attempting to buy. The workers want to establish that his tweets have nothing to do with them.
There is no doubt that Musk has quite a lot of cringe-worthy tweets under his belt. When he is not cheering on Dogecoin, the billionaire entrepreneur could be found tweeting an image of Bill Gates beside the emoji of a pregnant man with the caption “in case u need to lose a boner fast.”
in case u need to lose a boner fast pic.twitter.com/fcHiaXKCJi
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 23, 2022
Musk has also poked fun at his arch rival’s space company Blue Origin, tweeting, “Can’t get it up (to orbit) lol” in a reference to the male anatomy.
The letter is calling on SpaceX to enforce the “No Asshole” and zero-tolerance sexual harassment policy starting from the top and consistently. It also asks for Musk’s Twitter behavior to be called out publicly and condemned.
A full copy of the letter is below.
An open letter to the Executives of SpaceX,
In light of recent allegations against our CEO and his public disparagement of the situation, we would like to deliver feedback on how these events affect our company’s reputation, and through it, our mission. Employees across the spectra of gender, ethnicity, seniority, and technical roles have collaborated on this letter. We feel it is imperative to maintain honest and open dialogue with each other to effectively reach our company’s primary goals together: making SpaceX a great place to work for all, and making humans a multiplanetary species.
As SpaceX employees we are expected to challenge established processes, rapidly innovate to solve complex problems as a team, and use failures as learning opportunities. Commitment to these ideals is fundamental to our identity and is core to how we have redefined our industry. But for all our technical achievements, SpaceX fails to apply these principles to the promotion of diversity, equity, and inclusion with equal priority across the company, resulting in a workplace culture that remains firmly rooted in the status quo.
Individuals and groups of employees at SpaceX have spent significant effort beyond their technical scope to make the company a more inclusive space via conference recruiting, open forums, feedback to leadership, outreach, and more. However, we feel an unequal burden to carry this effort as the company has not applied appropriate urgency and resources to the problem in a manner consistent with our approach to critical path technical projects. To be clear: recent events are not isolated incidents; they are emblematic of a wider culture that underserves many of the people who enable SpaceX’s extraordinary accomplishments. As industry leaders, we bear unique responsibility to address this.
Elon’s behavior in the public sphere is a frequent source of distraction and embarrassment for us, particularly in recent weeks. 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. 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.
SpaceX’s current systems and culture do not live up to its stated values, as many employees continue to experience unequal enforcement of our oft-repeated “No Asshole” and “Zero Tolerance” policies. This must change. As a starting point, we are putting forth the following categories of action items, the specifics of which we would like to discuss in person with the executive team within a month:
Publicly address and condemn Elon’s harmful Twitter behavior. SpaceX must swiftly and explicitly separate itself from Elon’s personal brand.
Hold all leadership equally accountable to making SpaceX a great place to work for everyone. Apply a critical eye to issues that prevent employees from fully performing their jobs and meeting their potential, pursuing specific and enduring actions that are well resourced, transparent, and treated with the same rigor and urgency as establishing flight rationale after a hardware anomaly.
Define and uniformly respond to all forms of unacceptable behavior. Clearly define what exactly is intended by SpaceX’s “no-asshole” and “zero tolerance” policies and enforce them consistently. SpaceX must establish safe avenues for reporting and uphold clear repercussions for all unacceptable behavior, whether from the CEO or an employee starting their first day.
We care deeply about SpaceX’s mission to make humanity multiplanetary. But more importantly, we care about each other. The collaboration we need to make life multiplanetary is incompatible with a culture that treats employees as consumable resources. Our unique position requires us to consider how our actions today will shape the experiences of individuals beyond our planet. Is the culture we are fostering now the one which we aim to bring to Mars and beyond?
We have made strides in that direction, but there is so much more to accomplish.