Read the email Blue Origin’s CEO sent employees in response to allegations of a toxic workplace

Bob Smith, chief executive officer of Blue Origin LLC, speaks during TechCrunch Disrupt 2019 in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2019.

David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Blue Origin CEO Bob Smith sent a companywide email to the employees of Jeff Bezos‘ venture as an internal response to allegations of a toxic and sexist workplace raised in an essay published by a former employee.

The essay, published Thursday, was signed by former Blue Origin head of employee communications Alexandra Abrams. The essay said it was endorsed by 20 current and former employees who were not identified. It gave two examples of alleged sexual harassment by senior Blue Origin leadership. It also said the company insisted on strict nondisclosure agreements, and it raised safety concerns and environmental issues about the company’s practices.

Smith’s email, obtained by CNBC, sought to “reassure” the company that Blue Origin’s spacecraft and rockets are safe, and that it has “no tolerance for discrimination or harassment of any kind.”

“I welcome and encourage any member of Team Blue to speak directly with me if they have any concerns on any topic at any time,” Smith said in Thursday’s email.

The space company didn’t respond to CNBC’s request for comment about Smith’s internal email.

Read Smith’s full email below.

Team Blue,

Today, you may have seen that some claims were made against our team.

As with any criticism, whether personal or professional, and whether the criticism is fair or baseless, it is never easy to hear. It requires reflection and humility to sort through what is useful and what is not.

It is particularly difficult and painful, for me, to hear claims being levied that attempt to characterize our entire team in a way that doesn’t align with the character and capability that I see at Blue Origin every day.

Yet, one of our Blue Leadership Principles states that “Leaders are sincerely open-minded, and examine their own strongest convictions with humility. They value diversity, in all of its forms, since different viewpoints result in novel ideas. Their openness enables them to trust those around them – and to earn the trust of others in turn.”

We wrote and published that principle, and others, and will today, and always, be self-critical and hold ourselves to the highest standard.

While we reflect on what we can learn and improve, I do want to reassure the team on a few points.

First, the New Shepard team went through a methodical and pain-staking process to certify our vehicle for First Human Flight. Anyone that claims otherwise is uninformed and simply incorrect. That team is appropriately proud of the work they’ve done and we should be as well.

It should also be emphatically stated that we have no tolerance for discrimination or harassment of any kind. We provide numerous avenues including a 24/7 anonymous hotline for employees, we investigate and act on any findings, and we will promptly investigate any new claims of misconduct. As always, I welcome and encourage any member of Team Blue to speak directly with me if they have any concerns on any topic at any time.

Finally, it should never be doubted that we have an amazing team that is doing amazing work. Our team is comprised of the best and brightest professionals in the aerospace industry. People who are dedicated, work hard and are passionate about our mission.

We’ll continue to rapidly grow that talented team, stay focused on our efforts, and support each other. And, step by step, we will make even greater strides.

Gradatim Ferociter,

Bob

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