Musk Accused of Exposing Himself to Flight Attendant

2016 allegations are just now making headlines
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted May 20, 2022 12:06 AM CDT
Elon Musk Accused of Sexual Misconduct
SpaceX owner and Tesla CEO Elon Musk arrives on the red carpet for the Axel Springer media award, in Berlin, Germany, Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020.   (Britta Pedersen/Pool via AP, File)

(Newser) – Amid his Twitter drama, a new scandal for Elon Musk: A 2016 sexual misconduct allegation against the Tesla and SpaceX CEO has been made public. Documents and interviews obtained by Business Insider reveal that that year, a flight attendant who worked for the SpaceX corporate jet fleet accused Musk of exposing himself to her and propositioning her during a massage, and that SpaceX ultimately paid the woman $250,000. After being hired as a flight attendant, the woman told a friend it had been recommended to her that she also get licensed as a masseuse (on her own dime) so she could give Musk massages. She says that while giving him a full-body massage in a private cabin on his Gulfstream during a flight to London, he removed the sheet covering his lower body and exposed his private parts to her.

Then, the woman (who is an equestrian) says, Musk "touched her and offered to buy her a horse if she would 'do more,' referring to the performance of sex acts." She said no, but continued the massage, the documents claim. After the incident, the woman's friend tells Insider, the woman "started to feel as if she was receiving some sort of retaliation where her shifts were cut back." By 2018, she had hired a lawyer and submitted a human resources complaint, and after a mediation session reportedly attended by Musk himself, the woman accepted a severance agreement in which she was paid $250,000 in exchange for the signing of a nondisclosure agreement and a promise not to sue over the allegations. It was the friend who brought the story to Insider. This is the first time Musk himself has been publicly tied to sexual misconduct allegations, though both SpaceX and Tesla have faced such allegations.

Reached by Insider, Musk simply said there was "a lot more to this story," which he called a "politically motivated hit piece." He added, "If I were inclined to engage in sexual harassment, this is unlikely to be the first time in my entire 30-year career that it comes to light." Later, on Twitter, he appeared to refer to the story: "The attacks against me should be viewed through a political lens—this is their standard (despicable) playbook—but nothing will deter me from fighting for a good future and your right to free speech," he wrote, before later adding, "I have a challenge to this liar who claims their friend saw me 'exposed'—describe just one thing, anything at all (scars, tattoos, …) that isn’t known by the public. She won’t be able to do so, because it never happened." Twitter has not commented on the story, which can be read in full here. (Read more Elon Musk stories.)

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