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Some SpaceX Employees Criticize Elon Musk’s Behavior in Letter

Space Exploration Technologies’ launch site in southern Texas.



Photo:

Veronica G. Cardenas/Bloomberg News

Some employees of SpaceX wrote a letter raising concerns and frustration over Chief Executive

Elon Musk’s

recent public statements and behavior, describing them as a source of embarrassment and distraction.

In the letter, the employees requested that management at Space Exploration Technologies Corp., as the company is called formally, publicly address and condemn what was described as Mr. Musk’s “harmful Twitter behavior” in order to separate the company from his personal brand.

It couldn’t be determined how many employees signed the letter, which was addressed to SpaceX executives and requested a meeting with them within a month. SpaceX has around 12,000 employees, Mr. Musk said in a recent interview.

“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,” the letter said.

Mr. Musk didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment about the employee letter. SpaceX also didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. The Verge reported on the letter earlier.

The letter also said there is a gap between SpaceX’s stated values and its current systems and company culture. As an example, the letter pointed to what it said was unequal enforcement of SpaceX internal policies on employee conduct.

The note from employees also referred to recent allegations against Mr. Musk and his “public disparagement of the situation.”

Elon Musk said SpaceX may move its Starship rocket tests from its South Texas Starbase to a Florida location. WSJ Reporter Micah Maidenberg explains why SpaceX is considering moving and what a move could mean for Starship’s development. Photo Illustration: Alexander Hotz/WSJ

The letter follows a published report last month about a sexual-misconduct allegation against Mr. Musk and a payment SpaceX was said to have made in 2018 related to the alleged incident. Mr. Musk has called the allegation “utterly untrue” on Twitter, and SpaceX President

Gwynne Shotwell

said in an email to staff that she personally believed the claims were false.

SpaceX has emerged as the leading rocket-launch company, handling human space flights for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and private customers, while regularly putting its own satellites into orbit. The company, which recently raised almost $1.7 billion, listed almost 900 open positions on its website as of Thursday morning.

Mr. Musk, who separately serves as the chief executive of

Tesla Inc.,

is also pursuing a takeover of Twitter Inc., and addressed employees at the social-media company Thursday.

Write to Micah Maidenberg at micah.maidenberg@wsj.com

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Appeared in the June 17, 2022, print edition as ‘Some SpaceX Employees Criticize Musk’s Behavior in Letter.’

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