'That Was Not Appropriate Behavior': NASA Roasted Elon Musk for Smoking Weed Live on the Internet
Musk's company SpaceX became the focus of a NASA safety review after he smoked cannabis on a livestreamed "Joe Rogan Experience" podcast in September.
Bridenstine commented publicly on the incident for the first time on Thursday, telling reporters, according to The Atlantic: "I will tell you that was not helpful, and that did not inspire confidence, and the leaders of these organizations need to take that as an example of what to do when you lead an organization that's going to launch American astronauts."
Bridenstine said he ordered safety reviews of SpaceX and Boeing, another NASA contractor — which were first reported by The Washington Post earlier this month — but stressed that he had wanted the reviews of their corporate culture before Musk was filmed smoking weed.
According to The Atlantic, Bridenstine said his decision was influenced by tragedies in NASA's history, including the Apollo 1 fire in 1967, which killed three astronauts during a ground test, as well as the Challenger and Columbia space shuttle disasters in 1986 and 2003.
Bridenstine said that a frequent question was whether the culture at NASA and its contractors contributed to those accidents. "Were there people that were raising a red flag that we didn't listen to, and ultimately did that culture contribute to the failure and, in those cases, to disaster?" he said.
The Atlantic's Marina Koren asked Bridenstine whether Musk's smoking weed live online constituted a red flag. "I think those were not helpful," he responded.
Bridenstine also said he had "a number of conversations" with Musk about his behavior.
"I will tell you, he is as committed to safety as anybody, and he understands that that was not appropriate behavior, and you won't be seeing that again," Bridenstine said of Musk.
SpaceX and NASA did not immediately respond to Business Insider's request for comment.