DOJ cites Musk tweets, sues SpaceX over discrimination

In new suit, Justice Dept. alleges SpaceX discriminated against refugees and asylum-seekers in hiring

By Rae Hodge

Staff Reporter

Published August 24, 2023 1:20PM (EDT)

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk (JOEL SAGET/AFP via Getty Images)
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk (JOEL SAGET/AFP via Getty Images)

The U.S. Department of Justice filed suit against SpaceX on Thursday, alleging the spaceflight company discriminated against asylum seekers and refugees in its hiring practices between 2018 and 2022. The lawsuit cites remarks made by SpaceX owner Elon Musk on (now known as X), and in YouTube videos — alleging SpaceX actively discouraged the applicants and "wrongly claimed" restriction under export control laws. The suit follows prior DOJ probes into SpaceX, starting in 2020.  

"Our investigation found that SpaceX failed to fairly consider or hire asylees and refugees because of their citizenship status and imposed what amounted to a ban on their hire regardless of their qualification, in violation of federal law," DOJ Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke said in an Aug. 24 statement. "Our investigation also found that SpaceX recruiters and high-level officials took actions that actively discouraged asylees and refugees from seeking work opportunities at the company." 

SpaceX did not immediately reply to Salon's request for comment.