SpaceX employees have gone on the attack, calling CEO Elon Musk “a frequent source of distraction and embarrassment.”
Musk is currently one of the most high-profile CEOs in the world, serving in the top spot Tesla, and founding both Tesla and SpaceX. In addition, Musk is in talks to purchase Twitter. With everything he’s working on, Musk is sure to draw detractors, but the latest round comes from his own employees.
In an open letter to SpaceX executives, employees make the case that every tweet and statement made by Musk is seen and interpreted as “a de facto public statement by the company.” The employees claim that “Elon’s behavior in the public sphere is a frequent source of distraction and embarrassment for us, particularly in recent weeks.”
In addition to attacking Musk specifically, the employees claim the company needs to do more to live up to its “No Asshole” and “Zero Tolerance” policies, saying that employees are experiencing uneven enforcement.
The employees are asking to meet with company leadership within the next month to discuss their concerns and demands.
The letter illustrates the challenges many companies and executives are facing at a time when employee activism is reaching an all-time high. Mercurial founders and successful startups often go hand-in-hand. Steve Jobs and Apple; Larry Ellison and Oracle; Zuckerberg and Facebook; and the list goes on.
While many employees may not like Musk’s tweets, or his public persona, the argument could be made that neither SpaceX or Tesla would be where they are without him. Similarly, some see him as uniquely qualified to help turn Twitter around, with Twitter founder Jack Dorsey throwing his weight behind Musk’s bid to purchase the social media company.
Only time will tell how SpaceX will respond to the employees’ letter.