Saturday July 20, 2024

SpaceX sued by engineers fired after accusing Musk of sexism

By Reuters
June 13, 2024
A SpaceX rocket seen in this undated image. — Reuters/file
A SpaceX rocket seen in this undated image. — Reuters/file 

WASHINGTON: Rocket maker SpaceX and its CEO Elon Musk were sued on Wednesday by eight engineers who say they were illegally fired for raising concerns about alleged sexual harassment and discrimination against women.

The engineers - four women and four men - claim Musk ordered their firing in 2022 after they circulated a letter calling the billionaire a “distraction and embarrassment” and urging executives to disavow sexually charged comments he had made on social media. The lawsuit was filed in state court in Los Angeles.

The plaintiffs cited a series of tweets by Musk, several of which reference his penis, including one from 2022 telling the former CEO of YouTube “if you touch my wiener, you can have a horse.”

The lawsuit says Musk’s conduct fostered a “pervasively sexist culture” at SpaceX where female engineers were routinely subjected to harassment and sexist comments and their concerns about workplace culture were ignored. Senior engineers, for example, used euphemisms for sexual acts and male genitals to describe rocket components, according to the lawsuit.

“These actions ... had the foreseeable and actual result of offending, causing distress, and intruding upon Plaintiffs’ well-being so as to disrupt their emotional tranquility in the workplace,” the plaintiffs said in the lawsuit.