Elon Musk’s Twitter chaos is also consuming SpaceX

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It’s always fun to check in with SpaceX, Elon Musk’s least dysfunctional company – oh wait, what’s that? Are SpaceX workers unhappy?

Last week, as first reported The edge, a group of SpaceX employees wrote a letter to Musk about his tweets. “Elon’s behavior in the public sphere has been a frequent source of distraction and embarrassment for us, particularly in recent weeks,” the letter read. “As CEO and most prominent spokesperson, Elon is considered the face of SpaceX – every Tweet sent by Elon is a de facto public statement of the company. It is essential to make it clear to our teams and our potential talent pool that its message does not reflect our work, our mission or our values.

The plan was to hand-deliver the signatures of those who agreed with the letter to SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell, who effectively runs the company. Sure, Musk’s title is CEO, but he’s largely a spokesperson (although I’m guessing he probably also took on the project of chastising Starship engineers to go faster). Shotwell has worked in aerospace since 1988, when Musk was still in college. Musk may be the “idea guy,” but SpaceX is Shotwell’s show.

It’s obvious if you think about it a bit. Consider Tesla, where most of Musk’s attention is focused: constantly in crisis mode, unable to meet deadlines and currently claiming to manufacture a Westworld counterfeit robot. SpaceX is not like that! He is also plagued with delays, but he manages to fulfill his government contracts. There’s a lot less drama around SpaceX, which can only mean that Musk isn’t running it. Someone who is competent in basic management is – and it’s Shotwell.

But even Shotwell can’t stop Musk’s mayhem from hitting SpaceX, especially now that he’s threatening to take over a major social media company. So the letter, which led SpaceX to lay off five people.

Shotwell wrote a company-wide email that had an actual audience of one — his boss — noting that SpaceX had a lot of work to do and calling the letter interfering with “employee ability.” of SpaceX to focus and do their job. No mention was made of real issues raised by employees, such as claims that the company’s ‘no asshole’ policy isn’t real, or its ‘zero tolerance’ policy for harassment sexual. There was also no mention of Musk’s offer on Twitter, which sparked this cycle of shitposting activity from Musk, which, in turn, created a distraction that hampered employees’ ability to SpaceX to focus on their work.

The ‘zero tolerance’ policy on sexual harassment is a particular issue for SpaceX since SpaceX reportedly paid $250,000 to a flight attendant who claims Musk exposed his penis to her and offered to buy her a horse if she gave him an erotic massage. This does not appear to be a zero tolerance policy for sexual harassment; it looks like a zero tolerance policy for complaints of sexual harassment.

And, by the way, Shotwell does not think that the case uncovered by Business Intern is real: “I believe the allegations are false; not because I work for Elon, but because I have worked closely with him for 20 years and have never seen or heard anything resembling these allegations,” Shotwell wrote in an email. separate which was also sent to the whole company. “Anyone who knows Elon like me knows he would never drive or condone this alleged inappropriate behavior.”

A company that pays for its CEO’s bad behavior is complying with an unenforced “zero tolerance” policy on sexual harassment. Five former workers also claimed last year that SpaceX does not take sexual harassment seriously. A former mission integration engineer has also posted an essay in which she describes being groped during her internship and persistent sexual advances for the rest of her career there. “I reported every incident of sexual harassment I experienced to HR, and nothing was done,” Ashley Kosak, the former employee, wrote in her essay. “I was told that matters of this nature were too private to be discussed openly with the perpetrators.”

Anyway, back to that recent letter. I don’t know if these now fired employees will take their case to the National Labor Relations Board, although some experts The edge spoke last week suggested that their dismissal was unlawful. Musk has previously had a run-in with the NLRB, which slapped him for union busting at Tesla. As part of his judgment against Musk, he was ordered to delete a tweet. This is always live.

Indeed, a service that Elon Musk provided to America demonstrates exactly how ossified our legal and administrative state is. I waited with some interest for NASA to say literally anything about this dust. Guess if I wait long enough, NASA will say it’s “not appropriate behavior”, just like they did with the Joe Rogan weed case, where Musk hit a punch outspoken on the popular Rogan podcast. After an investigation following these blunts, NASA rewarded SpaceX with a $5 million bonus for “employee training”.

I got impatient while waiting for NASA, so I emailed the agency asking for an interview about how they planned to handle all of this. Spokesman Joshua Finch told me he would try to get me a written response but he didn’t think he could meet my deadline. Indeed, he did not.

It’s a bit of a tricky area for NASA, because NASA is also a boys’ club. According to the memoirs of Lori Garver, the second in command in the Obama administration, Garver was “called an ugly whore, a fucking whore and a pussy; told me I had to fuck and asked if I was on my period or if I was in menopause”, while her colleagues disagreed with her.

Specifically, SpaceX is the only US company to offer a ride to the International Space Station. Both SpaceX and Boeing have agreements with NASA under the Commercial Crew Program; at the time, NASA relied on Russian rockets to transport its astronauts. Boeing’s rival Starliner, which has been plagued by delays, has yet to fly people; he barely managed to complete an unmanned test.

It’s not just NASA that relies on SpaceX. It’s also the US military, although unlike NASA, the military has options. Last weekend, SpaceX launched a communications satellite called Globalstar-2, but satellite trackers believe the mission also carried secret payloads, which may or may not be linked to the US military.

Acquiring Twitter occupies less than 5% of his time, Musk said. Given how public that 5% of his time is, it has an outsized effect on his other businesses. Shotwell must now manage SpaceX through his boss’ increasingly erratic public behavior. But that underscores her real problem: She’s not really the CEO of SpaceX, even though she is, in many ways, functionally indistinguishable from most CEOs. A difference ? When the real The CEO makes a mess, she has to clean it up.

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