Earlier this month, Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced that he would lay off 10% of the electric automaker’s staff due to his “super bad feeling” about the economy. According to electric vehicle news outlet Electrek, Bobby Berretta-Paris — the volunteer “President of LGBTQ+” at Tesla who worked as a recruiter — was among those who lost their jobs. Berretta-Paris included “President of LGBTQ+” on his LinkedIn page, although it is unclear what the designation entailed.
An unnamed engineer, who volunteered as a “Diversity and Inclusion Leader,” was also let go. Electrek made clear that both separations were part of the “broader wave of layoffs,” but repeated that both employees had received multiple promotions in their relatively short tenures, seemingly indicating that their performance was not a cause for concern.
Large corporations frequently enforce a progressive social and political agenda under the guise of “diversity, equity, and inclusion” initiatives. Technology companies are particularly intolerant of conflicting worldviews outside of leftist orthodoxy. However, a recent poll conducted by Echelon Insights on behalf of The Daily Wire revealed that American investors — by a two-to-one margin — disapprove of companies leveraging their financial power for political or social means.
As Electrek noted, the layoffs come amid Musk’s concerns about the “woke mind virus,” which he believes to be “the biggest threat” to civilization. Days earlier, rocket company SpaceX — which Musk also runs — fired multiple employees who circulated a letter criticizing the billionaire entrepreneur for his “behavior” and “values.”
“Elon’s behavior in the public sphere is a frequent source of distraction and embarrassment for us, particularly in recent weeks,” the letter asserted. “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.”
The authors also said that “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,” demanding that SpaceX “swiftly and explicitly separate itself from Elon’s personal brand.”
The day after the letter circulated, an email from SpaceX President and COO Gwynne Shotwell — who has often defended Musk from spurious allegations — said that the employees had been canned.
“The letter, solicitations and general process 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,” Shotwell wrote. “We have too much critical work to accomplish and no need for this kind of overreaching activism.”
The separations at both companies came days after Musk made headlines for announcing that he cast his ballot for Mayra Flores — a Mexican-American Republican congressional candidate who won a historically Democratic district in southern Texas — after earlier announcing that he would vote Republican in this year’s midterm elections. When asked online about who he was leaning toward supporting in the 2024 presidential election, Musk said Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
Musk has encouraged Silicon Valley — and the United States at large — to reject wokeness and reaffirm a commitment to free expression.
“I also want to make Twitter better than ever by enhancing the product with new features, making the algorithms open source to increase trust, defeating the spam bots, and authenticating all humans,” Musk said in April, adding that the “extreme antibody reaction from those who fear free speech says it all.”