Elon Musk has millions of critics – and loyal fans – and nowhere is that clearer than on Twitter. Since Musk, the world’s richest person and CEO of Tesla, SpaceX, Boring Company and Neuralinka, announced plans to buy the social network in April, the debate has intensified over whether he is a genius saving the world or just a rough billionaire. with a large platform. And more and more people, including his employees, have begun to question the increasingly blurred line between his personality on Twitter and his role as leader of several large companies.
Last Thursday, SpaceX reportedly at least fired five employees involved in writing the letter to company executives condemning Musk’s recent behavior – especially on Twitter, where he communicated more often with right-wing politicians and experts. In recent months, Musk’s activity on Twitter has included posting memes targeting Twitter CEO Vijay Gadde,, shedding light on the accusations that he sexually harassed a SpaceX flight attendant, and mocking the look of Bill Gates. The letter focused on Musk’s behavior on Twitter, where he spoke more and more loudly about American politics and his criticism. The Democratic Party, which he says has turned also far left.
“Elon’s behavior in the public sphere is a frequent source of interference and shame for us, especially in recent weeks,” the letter reads. “As our CEO and most prominent spokesperson, Elon is considered the face of SpaceX – every tweet Elon sends is a de facto public statement by the company.”
The shootings followed after a Border report on Thursday on the letter, which represents the first time such a document has appeared to an employee of Musk, and marks one of the most public concerted actions to date against Musk by an employee of one of his companies. Musk already has a huge impact, but now that he’s on his way to owning Twitter, one of the largest social media platforms in the U.S., his voice will have even more reach. It also means that his ability to influence what people say about him is likely to be greater. SpaceX’s letter, and the subsequent dismissal of the employees involved, show that there is growing tension between the way Musk presents himself as an individual – albeit a very public figure – and how his employees feel represented or misrepresented by their CEO. .
One of the actions the employees suggested in the letter was to “publicly address and condemn Elon’s harmful behavior on Twitter” and “quickly and explicitly separate from Elon’s personal brand.”
But SpaceX’s letter doesn’t just deal with Musk’s abrasive “personal brand” on Twitter. The writers of the letters claim that this behavior was “emblematic” for a larger cultural issue at SpaceX. “SpaceX’s current systems and culture are not in line with these values,” the letter said. He called on leaders to better promote a workplace culture that values diversity, equality and inclusion.
Musk-run companies have faced several allegations of fostering an unhealthy, or even offensive, work environment. Tesla investor Solomon Chau on Thursday filed a lawsuit against Tesla in Texas, where the company is headquartered, for failing to adequately address allegations of workplace abuse. “Tesla has created a toxic workplace culture based on racist and sexist abuse and discrimination against its own employees,” Chau said. in a suit.
This follows the case from February in which it is the state of California sued Tesla’s Fremont factory due to accusations of racism. The lawsuit represented over 4,000 former and current black workers who claimed that the black workers were separated into separate parts of the factory. According to interviews conducted by the Los Angeles Times, there was a particularly labor-intensive part of the plant, which Tesla workers called a “plantation”. One black worker said they often heard racial insults 50 to 100 times a day.
Musk’s companies also faced off charges of sexual harassment problems in the workplace. 2021 five former SpaceX employees they told Verge that they had faced or witnessed sexual harassment in the company. One former SpaceX engineer, Ashley Kosak, published an essay describing her experience during her time at the company, where she began as an intern in 2017. “I reported every sexual harassment incident I experienced HR, and nothing was done,” she wrote. “Every man who mistreated me was tolerated despite the so-called policy of intolerance and politics without assholes.”
SpaceX’s “no asshole” policy is well known. President Gwynne Shotwell did boasted that the company had zero tolerance for assholes prevents interruptions, which in turn encourages innovation. An open letter compiled by employees last week claims that the company did not actually comply with this policy.
Musk himself has also been charged with harassing employees. In May, Business Insider Report allegation that Musk sexually harassed a SpaceX flight attendant, exposing himself to her and offering to buy her a horse in exchange for an “erotic massage”. After the report came out, Musk joked about it on Twitter.
Now, five SpaceX employees have lost their jobs after criticizing the leadership of their CEO. SpaceX has not yet answered a question about whether Musk was directly involved in the layoffs, but Musk has reported data on the dismissal of critics; in the book Power Play: Tesla, Elon Musk and Bet of the Centuryauthor Tim Higgins reports several examples Musk fires his employees in moments of anger, including people who disagreed with him. Bloomberg reporter and Musk biographer Ashlee Vance quoted SpaceX engineers in her book Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX and the search for a fantastic future who said that “the treatment of staff was not good for long periods of this era”. The employee recalled that some engineers were “blamed for things they didn’t do” and fired. “The kiss of death proved that Elon was wrong about something,” said engineer Vance.
A letter from a SpaceX employee and its aftermath further reveals the discrepancy between Elon Musk, a genius innovator, and Elon Musk, a manager. Musk has long been revered as a brilliant technological founder that many believe is pushing humanity forward. If his leadership is a little cheeky – even offensive – many seem to think it can be forgiven for the sheer importance of Tesla and SpaceX missions. Musk made comparisons between his work and philanthropyand said that sending people to Mars is important in order to “expand the light of consciousness.”
This vision of Musk and his companies, which is bigger than life, often attracted people to work for him. But, as some of his SpaceX employees have made clear, his recent behavior and the scandals that followed are detrimental to that mission. How does Musk become increasingly divided on Twitter, the communication platform he intends to own, how can his employees continue to separate the two personalities – the social media celebrity and the CEO – and do their job without PR interference? This seems to be an issue that some Musk employees are now struggling with.
Musk employees on Twitter seem to be already wary of their future boss. U a virtual meeting with employees on Twitter last Thursday Musk did not deny the possibility of layoffs after the acquisition. A video of internal Slack messages of employees who reacted critically to Mask during the meeting, without edited names, also leaked on Twitter. Musk he responded on Twitter to the leak with one word: “Interesting.”