According to an internal memo, SpaceX fired “a number of employees” responsible for an open letter criticizing the behavior of chief executive officer Elon Musk.
In an open letter that has been circulating among employees in recent days, Musk’s behavior and tweets are described as “a frequent source of distraction and embarrassment for us, especially in recent weeks.”
The letter, seen by Bloomberg, called on SpaceX executives to denounce and distance themselves from Musk’s “personal brand.”
SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell said in an internal email, which also saw Bloomberg, that the company had investigated the open letter and fired the employees involved. The shooting was previously reported by the New York Times. A separate Reuters report said at least five workers were laid off.
SpaceX did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The coup hints at internal divisions within the rocket and satellite communications company over the billionaire’s often-controversial comments, whether it be his stance on overtly political topics, rude tweets, or references to drug culture.
Last month, Insider reported that Space Exploration Technologies Corp. paid an employee $250,000 to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit by Musk in 2016. He spoke out against the allegations, calling them “completely false”.
Musk is also in the process of acquiring Twitter Inc for $44 billion. On Thursday, he met with staff for the first time, where he said people should be allowed to say “pretty outrageous things” on social media.