Elon Musk Faces Even More Labor Complaints, This Time From Former SpaceX Employees

Ever since Elon Musk bought Twitter for $44 billion, the company had been engulfed in chaos. Musk started out by firing the entire board of directors — making himself the sole CEO — and then followed up by firing half of Twitter's workforce, adding up to around 4,000 employees. Entire departments were closed down, and those who stayed behind were quietly expected not to comment. It seems this is not the first time that Elon Musk has acted quickly when employees spoke up against him, as allegedly evidenced by the firings of several SpaceX employees earlier in 2022.

In the midst of all the drama that's currently taking place at Twitter, it should come as no surprise that many employees are unhappy with the treatment they received. Some of them were only alerted about being fired on the day that it happened. Some were not told at all and simply lost access to all company software and equipment. Musk enforced a return to the office — previously, Twitter employees were allowed to work from home. The billionaire has also removed Twitter's "day of rest," meaning a monthly day off for the entire company.

Musk doesn't appear to be a fan of free speech, despite calling himself a free speech absolutist. He supposedly fired Twitter employees for speaking up against the Twitter chaos on the company Slack, and then proceeded to mock them on Twitter. He also fired a developer who disagreed with him on Twitter, and the firing took place via a tweet, too. As the final cherry on top, Musk sent out a company-wide email telling his staff that they need to become "extremely hardcore" if they "want to be part of new Twitter." In light of these events, the similar reports from SpaceX employees certainly seem plausible.

Nine SpaceX employees lost their jobs

According to a report by the New York Times, SpaceX employees seem to have gone through similar woes as the experience that Twitter workers are going through now. Two of SpaceX's former employees, Paige Holland-Thielen and Tom Moline, spoke up about a case that took place in June 2022. As per the report, a total of nine SpaceX employees have been fired as a result of writing a letter which called for the company to speak up against Musk's "harmful Twitter behavior." The behavior in question included making fun of a news report that suggested that SpaceX had settled a sexual harassment lawsuit made against Musk.

As reported by Insider, SpaceX has allegedly paid a company flight attendant $250,000 in order to settle a claim that Musk has exposed himself and propositioned her. Following the events and Musk's response to them, several SpaceX employees worked on a letter that included a few proposals on how to make SpaceX a safer and better workplace. Per the New York Times' report, the statement read: "Elon's behavior in the public sphere is a frequent source of distraction and embarrassment for us." While the initial response from the SpaceX management was sympathetic, and the letter amassed over 400 signatures, at a later meeting it was referred to as "an extremist act" (per New York Times).

Ultimately, nine people were fired after being told to "stop flooding employee communication channels immediately." While the case has not been settled and nothing is certain, it seems that this "hardcore" approach that Musk is trying to implement at Twitter has followed him from SpaceX, and no one knows when (if ever) it's going to end.