SpaceX has fired at least five employees who were involved with circulating a letter around the company that was critical of CEO Elon Musk, according to two people familiar with the company who declined to be named and an internal email from President and COO Gwynne Shotwell.
Shotwell, in a company wide email Thursday, said SpaceX “terminated a number of employees involved” and called “blanketing thousands of people across the company with repeated unsolicited emails” unacceptable, according to copies of the email obtained by CNBC.
The open letter, first reported by The Verge, was circulated and signed by an unknown number of SpaceX employees earlier this week.
“We have too much critical work to accomplish and no need for this kind of overreaching activism,” Shotwell wrote, adding the letter “upset many” within the company and “made employees feel uncomfortable, intimidated and bullied.”
The letter was addressed to company executives, according to media reports, and described the billionaire’s public behavior as “a frequent source of distraction and embarrassment” for SpaceX employees.
The New York Times first reported the SpaceX firings. SpaceX did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.