Elon Musk pot puff prompts safety review from NASA, report says

SpaceX and Boeing, two companies partnering with the space agency, will undergo the assessment.

Richard Nieva Former senior reporter
Richard Nieva was a senior reporter for CNET News, focusing on Google and Yahoo. He previously worked for PandoDaily and Fortune Magazine, and his writing has appeared in The New York Times, on CNNMoney.com and on CJR.org.
Richard Nieva
2 min read

NASA is ordering a review of the workplace cultures of SpaceX and Boeing, two companies working with the agency to fly astronauts to the International Space Station, according to a report Tuesday by The Washington Post.


Musk's puff of a marijuana blunt during a podcast reportedly has prompted a safety review of SpaceX by NASA.

The Joe Rogan Experience

The decision was reportedly prompted by SpaceX CEO Elon Musk's appearance on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast in September, where he took a puff of a marijuana blunt during the live stream. The move didn't sit well with NASA's top officials, the Post said.

The assessment won't focus on technical details, but issues including drug policies, leadership and management style, and how many hours employees work. The review will start early next year, and will take months to complete. It'll involve "hundreds" of interviews with people at the companies, the Post said.

NASA didn't respond to a request for comment.

SpaceX said it has a "strong partnership" with NASA and that it promotes workplace safety. "We are confident that our comprehensive drug-free workforce and workplace programs exceed all applicable contractual requirements," a spokeswoman said.

Boeing said it hadn't yet been formally notified of the assessment by NASA, and that the company maintains a drug- and alcohol-free workplace.

"The culture at Boeing ensures the integrity, safety and quality of our products, our people and their work environment," a spokesman said in a statement. "As NASA's trusted partner since the beginning of human spaceflight, we share the same values and are committed to continuing our legacy of trust, openness and mission success."

The news of the safety reviews comes as Musk has had a rocky couple of months. In September, the Securities and Exchange Commission forced him to pay a $20 million fine and step down as chairman of the electric-car company Tesla, after tweeting that he planned to take the company private. The SEC said he lied to investors by saying funding for the move was secured.

Musk also came under fire in July after he called a British diver who helped rescue Thai children from a cave a "pedo." The CEO offered no evidence to support his claim. In September, the diver sued Musk for defamation. 

Update, 1:55 p.m. PT: Adds comment from SpaceX.

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