Elon Musk 'free speech absolutist' fires staff over criticizing letter

SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk has pushed for free speech in the past and has recently fired employees over a criticizing letter.

Published Jun 18, 2022 1:08 AM CDT   |   Updated Tue, Jul 12 2022 4:47 PM CDT
2 minutes & 0 seconds read time

Elon Musk described himself on Twitter on March 5 as a "free speech absolutist", and has now reportedly fired several employees for being involved in an internal letter that criticized him.

The New York Times has reported that an internal letter was circling SpaceX that criticized the company's CEO and founder and said that SpaceX needs to separate itself from Musk's personal brand. The letter was seen by Reuters and headed "an open letter to the Executives of SpaceX" and demanded that "hold all leadership equally accountable to making SpaceX a great place to work for everyone" and "define and uniformly respond to all forms of unacceptable behavior".

SpaceX executives discovered the letter and have fired at least five employees involved with it, according to The New York Times, which states it communicated with three of the fired employees. Notably, SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell wrote via email that the company recently investigated its creation and "terminated a number of employees involved".

Furthermore, Shotwell wrote that the employees were fired for making other SpaceX staff "uncomfortable, intimidated and bullied, and/or angry because the letter pressured them to sign onto something that did not reflect their views".

The internal letter and the firing of SpaceX staffers came only days after Musk sat down with Twitter employees to say Twitter users should be able to say "pretty outrageous things that are within the bounds of the law, but then that doesn't get amplified, it doesn't get, you know, a ton of reach."

Read more: Elon Musk explains what 'freedom of speech' will look like on Twitter

During Musk's sit-down with Twitter staffers, the Tesla and SpaceX CEO answered some questions about what Twitter will become when his acquisition is finalized. Musk also mentioned that he wants Twitter's userbase to reach at least 1 billion, which is a large increase from the 229 million users currently on the platform.

Read more: Elon Musk opens up about what Twitter will become under his rule

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Jak joined the TweakTown team in 2017 and has since reviewed 100s of new tech products and kept us informed daily on the latest science and space news. Jak's love for science, space, and technology, and, more specifically, PC gaming, began at 10 years old. It was the day his dad showed him how to play Age of Empires on an old Compaq PC. Ever since that day, Jak fell in love with games and the progression of the technology industry in all its forms. Instead of typical FPS, Jak holds a very special spot in his heart for RTS games.

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