Elon Musk makes it to the news even if he tweets or reacts in the simplest way possible. One smiley emoji from the Tesla owner and the next thing you know he is rocking headlines. He has always advocated and practiced free speech, especially through the social media platform Twitter.
In fact, to make free speech available to everyone, including Donald Trump who has been banned from the platform, Musk also made a $44 billion deal to buy Twitter. One can only imagine to what extent he might be supporting free speech but the actual story seems to be a little different.
“You may have received an unsolicited request from a small group of SpaceX employees for your signature on an ‘open letter’ yesterday and your participation in a related survey. Based on diverse employee feedback, this has upset many.”-Gwynne Shotwell, COO of SpaceX
Recently, it was reported that Elon Musk fired some SpaceX employees that signed an open letter criticizing Musk’s behavior on Twitter. It is still unclear how many employees have been fired but as of now, five employees have been cited who were removed from the company. All of us have to accept that since the Twitter deal and maybe even before that, Musk has reacted and tweeted in an unimaginable manner where we saw a different side of him. The very statement that he didn’t buy Twitter to make money explains that Twitter is just a playground for him.
Gwynne Shotwell, the COO of SpaceX said in an email, “You may have received an unsolicited request from a small group of SpaceX employees for your signature on an ‘open letter’ yesterday and your participation in a related survey. Based on diverse employee feedback, this has upset many.” The email sent to SpaceX employees also stated that the letter “made employees feel uncomfortable, intimidated and bullied, and/or angry because the letter pressured them to sign onto something that did not reflect their views.”
The letter reported by TheVerge read, “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. It is critical to make clear to our teams and to our potential talent pool that his messaging does not reflect our work, our mission, or our values.”
“It is critical to make clear to our teams and to our potential talent pool that his messaging does not reflect our work, our mission, or our values.”– Letter circulated by SpaceX employees
It was also reported that this letter was circulated to around 2,600 employees of SpaceX on SpaceX’s Microsoft Teams channel and it not only generated more than 100 comments but employees also accepted of being embarrassed by their head’s behavior.
The letter also listed three ways or “action items” that can address this situation. One, to publicly address Musk’s behavior and condemn it; two, hold the leadership equally accountable for it; or three, define the company’s ‘no-asshole’ and ‘zero-tolerance’ policy, and enforce them accordingly.
It looks very simple that the employees simply did not like their CEO’s behavior and speaking of free speech, they were putting it out to the world. Getting fired for this seems too extreme for a reaction.
Elon Musk previously has made jokes or commented in ways on certain situations that are usually not to be joked about. Recently, a controversy relating to Elon Musk was circulating over the internet that alleged the Tesla owner of flashing himself in front of a flight attendant in 2016. He also offered to buy her a horse if she agreed to engage sexually with him. To this, he responded on Twitter, “Finally, we get to use Elongate as scandal name. It’s kinda perfect.” replying to a tweet that he posted from 2021 saying, “If there’s ever a scandal about me, please call it Elongate.” It is also said that the company paid $250,000 to settle and silence the flight attendant and this is not the only sexual misconduct story that has emerged with the company’s name attached to it.
Looks like Musk wants free speech just for himself. Can you also imagine a world where Twitter is run by Musk? Sounds a little dangerous. The word ‘free speech’ seems too little convenient for Musk and nobody likes that which is also why he is being called a hypocrite for all the right reasons.