NEW YORK — Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has denied a claim of sexual misconduct by a flight attendant contracted by SpaceX who worked on his private jet in 2016.
Business Insider reported that SpaceX had paid the woman $250,000 as severance for agreeing to not file a claim.
The Business Insider report was based on an account by the flight attendant’s friend, who said the flight attendant told her about the incident shortly after it happened. Also, it was reported that the flight attendant signed a nondisclosure agreement which prohibits her discussing Musk or SpaceX.
SpaceX didn’t respond to emails seeking comment Friday. Musk, who founded SpaceX in 2002 as a private aerospace firm, serves as the company’s CEO.
Musk responded to the allegation using Twitter as a social media platform.
“And, for the record, those wild accusations are utterly untrue,” he wrote in responseOne user tweeted his support.
He replied to another: “In my 30 year career, including the entire MeToo era, there’s nothing to report, but, as soon as I say I intend to restore free speech to Twitter & vote Republican, suddenly there is …”
He also made light of the accusation, quoting a tweet of his own from 2021 in which he said if there was ever a scandal about him, it should be called “Elongate.”
“Finally, we get to use Elongate as scandal name. It’s kinda perfect,” he tweeted Friday.
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The flight attendant was a certified masseuse and had previously trained in massage to offer Musk massages. She said that Musk approached her while she was giving a massage. He then offered to buy her an animal for an erotic one.
Several hours before the Business Insider report was published, Musk tweeted that he had previously voted for Democrats but would now vote for Republicans and suggested that the left would launch a “dirty tricks campaign” against him.
Musk, who was in Brazil on Friday to meet with President Jair Bolsonaro, has offered to buy Twitter for $44 billion, but said the deal can’t go forward until the company provides information about how many accounts on the platform are spam or bots.
SpaceX previously came under fire for allegedly sexually harassing female workers. A former SpaceX engineer and intern described the harassment that she suffered from male employees in an essay posted online last year. She said the company was “so rife with sexism, the only remedy is for women to leave.”
After the allegations emerged publicly in December, SpaceX’s president and chief operating officer, Gwynne Shotwell, sent an email to employees stressing the importance of “timely reporting” of harassment and discrimination complaints and said the company will rigorously investigate them, according to reports at the time from the New York Times and other news outlets.
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