Bulletins

SpaceX employees criticized Musk. Then they were fired.

SpaceX President and COO Gwynne Shotwell said the company investigated and "terminated a number of employees involved" with a letter calling out Musk's behavior.

Elon Musk, chief executive officer of Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) and Tesla Inc., listens as Jim Bridenstine, administrator of the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), not pictured, speaks during an event at SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California, U.S., on Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019. SpaceXs Elon Musk and NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine staged a public show of support for one another at the rocket companys headquarters Thursday, weeks after the two traded barbs over the closely held companys delayed efforts to fly astronauts for the first time. Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images

SpaceX employees wrote an open letter criticizing Musk's behavior.

Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images

SpaceX employees called Elon Musk's behavior a "distraction and embarrassment" in an open letter circulated this week. The company is now firing those involved with writing and circulating it, according to The New York Times.


The letter specifically criticized Musk's tweets as 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,” the letter read.

In an email, SpaceX President and COO Gwynne Shotwell said the company investigated and "terminated a number of employees involved" with the letter because it made other employees "feel uncomfortable, intimidated and bullied, and/or angry." It's unclear how many people were fired, and a SpaceX spokesperson didn't return Protocol's request for comment.

"The letter pressured them to sign onto something that did not reflect their views,” Shotwell wrote in the email. “We have too much critical work to accomplish and no need for this kind of overreaching activism.”

"Blanketing thousands of people across the company with repeated unsolicited emails and asking them to sign letters and fill out unsponsored surveys during the work day is not acceptable," Shotwell added.

Employees don't usually criticize Musk's behavior unless it's under the condition of anonymity, The Times pointed out. As the letter was passed around, Musk met with Twitter employees for the first time before his $44 billion deal to buy the company takes shape. Twitter employees brought up several concerns about remote work and layoffs — at SpaceX, remote work is going away, and Tesla is laying off 10% of its salaried workforce.

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PayActiv gets paid back through a payroll deduction from the employee’s next paycheck. The company makes money through fees.

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The move underlined the CFPB’s increasingly critical view of sandbox deals that the agency said “proved to be ineffective.”

Safwan Shah, PayActiv’s founder and CEO, is credited with coining the term "earned wage access," which has been criticized by consumer advocates as being potentially predatory, especially when it comes to workers who don’t make much money.

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Bulletins