Elon Musk wants Twitter to allow more outrageous posts, but his SpaceX staff reportedly find him embarrassing
Employees are collecting signatures expressing their frustration with their CEO and the world’s richest man, saying they believe his activity on the social media platform he’s currently trying to acquire is affecting morale and scaring away potential applicants, The Verge reported on Thursday.
“Elon’s behavior in the public sphere is a frequent source of distraction and embarrassment for us, particularly in recent weeks,” states the letter, addressed to SpaceX president Gwynne Shotwell.
On Thursday, Musk held a virtual town hall meeting with Twitter staff, his first since launching his $44 billion bid in April. During the discussion, he urged staff to allow more space for people to say whatever they want so long as it doesn’t break the law, according to a Bloomberg report.
Only when people are allowed to post some “pretty outrageous things” would Twitter be able to grow its current 229 million user base to reach 1 billion, it reported him as saying, citing employees who attended the event.
SpaceX, the privately held company behind Musk’s dream of building a permanently manned base on Mars, most recently ended up in the headlines after Insider reported it paid a $250,000 settlement to a flight attendant the centibillionaire had allegedly propositioned for sex.
“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,” continued the letter.
The company did not respond to a request for comment from Fortune.
Musk posts numerously and frequently to Twitter to his 98.3 million followers, with over 18,000 on his timeline. In April, Mashable published a short list of what it called some of his “worst tweets” on the occasion of his takeover bid for the social media platform.
Numerous Tesla bulls have pleaded with the eccentric entrepreneur on Twitter to take things down a notch, with an eye toward his behavior potentially depressing the share price.
While he often posts photos and videos of his Falcon Heavy rockets or static fire tests of his latest Raptor engines, the SpaceX boss is known for his love of sharing memes and jokes that push the envelope.
His tweets have famously resulted in litigation, such as a defamation suit brought by a British rescuer involved in freeing Thai children from a cave, whom Musk had called a “pedo guy” in a tweet. (A Los Angeles jury cleared Musk of any liability in less than an hour.)
Advocates for Musk like to point to his interviews as proof he is a different person on Twitter. Nevertheless, the authors behind the SpaceX letter called on the company to publicly address and condemn his behavior on Twitter before it’s too late.
“SpaceX must swiftly and explicitly separate itself from Elon’s personal brand,” the letter demanded.
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