A few days ago, employees of spaceflight company SpaceX released an open letter criticizing their CEO Elon Musk. Less than 48 hours later, at least five employees who orchestrated the letter were fired.
The dam is breaking. The “listen to meeeeee” millennials, who have had an overblown influence on corporations, and on our culture, are finally being told to sit down and be quiet. It is very much overdue.
But isn’t Elon Musk supposed to be a “free speech absolutist?,” screech his critics. As I explain to my small children, freedom of speech under the First Amendment means the government can’t arrest you for calling the president a doofus.
It doesn’t mean you can do the same to your boss and expect to remain employed. (Similarly, you can’t tell your wife she’s ugly and then plead “Free speech!” when she gets mad and leaves you for the pool boy.) …
Nor can you can tweet about how terrible your workplace is and expect your bosses simply to take it, as the Washington Post’s Felicia Sonmez recently found out. Sonmez was finally fired after a full week of nonstop tweeting about what a horrible place the Washington Post is to work at. …
For some time now, corporations have been bending to people like Sonmez and the angry SpaceX employees. But in the past few months, it seems like Americans have finally had enough of these entitled babies.
These people have coarsened our discourse, pretended words are the same as violence and made an international incident over retweeted jokes, until everyone was afraid to speak. They got people fired from their jobs for wrongthink. They’re the ultimate crybullies, making sure no one gets to speak except them. For someone to finally shut them down is their just desserts.
With luck, this moment will bring back the dividing line between work and life. You shouldn’t be fired for what you tweet if it doesn’t affect your employer. But if it does, you tweet at your peril. We need to make work a separate thing from the rest of our lives again.