SpaceX fired at least 5 employees due to an internal letter criticizing CEO Elon Musk

SpaceX fired at least five employees who were involved in sending a letter to the company criticizing CEO Elon Muska, two people familiar with the company told CNBC.

The open letter was sent and signed earlier this week by an anonymous number of SpaceX employees. Musk is the majority shareholder of a private company whose trust held about 78% of SpaceX's voting shares last year.

SpaceX, according to two people familiar with the company who declined to be named, and an internal email from President and Chief Operating Officer Gwynne Shotwell, fired at least five employees who were involved in sending a letter criticizing the company to CEO Elon Musk.

Shotwell said in a company-wide e-mail on Thursday that SpaceX had "terminated many participating employees" and called for "thousands of people to join the company through repeated unsolicited e-mails" that were not received, 

An open letter, first reported by The Verge, was sent earlier this week. More than 400 SpaceX employees signed the letter in just a day and a half, The Verge said on Friday.

An open letter, first reported by The Verge, was sent earlier this week. More than 400 SpaceX employees signed the letter in just a day and a half, The Verge said on Friday.

According to media reports, the letter was directed against business leaders and described the billionaire's public behavior as a "constant source of distraction and embarrassment" for SpaceX employees.

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