SpaceX Employees Ask Execs to Get Elon Musk’s Antics Under Control

An open letter from employees denounces Elon Musk’s erratic behavior, saying the CEO’s controversies negatively affect SpaceX’s reputation.

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A photo of Elon Musk shrugging his shoulders while talking at a conference.
Photo: Jim Watson / AFP (Getty Images)

Elon Musk spends so much time spewing trash on Twitter that you’d be forgiven for forgetting that he’s in charge of two pretty big companies in the vehicular space. Now, employees at Musk’s SpaceX have had enough, circulating an open letter that seeks to distance themselves from his “embarrassing” behavior.

As was first reported by The Verge, the open letter states “employees across the spectra of gender, ethnicity, seniority, and technical roles” have had enough of Musk’s actions. Once signed, the open letter is meant to be delivered to SpaceX president Gwynne Shotwell.

The letter has three main demands for executives at the rocket manufacturer. It asks SpaceX management to “condemn Elon’s harmful Twitter behavior,” to “uniformly respond to all forms of unacceptable behavior,” and to “hold all leadership equally accountable.”

A photo of a SpaceX rocket launching through the clouds at night.
SpaceX was the first private company to successfully launch, orbit, and recover a spacecraft.
Photo: Red Huber (Getty Images)

The letter begins:

“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.”


Before adding that “recent events” are not “isolated” but are “emblematic of a wider culture.” That culture, they claim, is harmful to the very people who have worked on some of SpaceX’s notable accomplishments.

The accomplishments, like becoming the first private company to successfully launch, orbit, and recover a spacecraft, are being overshadowed by the behavior of CEO Elon Musk, the employees contend.


The letter continues:

“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.”

A photo of a SpaceX rocket laying on its side and rolling out of a hanger.
SpaceX regularly works with NASA on its missions.
Photo: Joel Kowsky/NASA (Getty Images)

As well as his torrid attempts to purchase Twitter, Musk has found himself under scrutiny in recent weeks for claiming that he would cut Tesla staff after getting a “bad feeling, calling LGBTQ+ identity a “personal choice, and becoming embroiled in allegations of sexual assault.


This has all proven too much for employees at SpaceX, and The Verge reports that the open letter has been shared with more than 2,600 employees who are being urged to sign it. As per The Verge:

“The letter generated more than a hundred comments in the Teams channel, with many employees agreeing to the spirit of the missive, according to screenshots of the chat shared by two sources who spoke with The Verge and asked to remain anonymous.

“Some commenters also claimed to be embarrassed by Musk’s behavior. Others expressed a desire for the company to better address executive leadership behavior as well as sexual harassment complaints.”


Signers of the letter, which can be read in full here, suggest that SpaceX’s ambitions for the future are “incompatible with a culture that treats employees as consumable resources.” It adds that employees would like to discuss the specifics of their demands for the company with “the executive team within a month.”

Jalopnik has reached out to SpaceX for comment on the demands made in the letter. We will update this article if we get a reply.