Elon Musk denies that he sexually assaulted a flight attendant in 2016, after allegations resurfaced in a news report yesterday. Musk's company, SpaceX, reportedly paid the woman in question $250,000 to settle the sexual misconduct claims in 2018, yet Musk maintains that allegations are "utterly untrue".
Musk is accused of exposing himself to the flight attendant, rubbing her leg without consent, and propositioning her for sex and an erotic massage. The allegations are made by a friend of the woman, who also says that the worker was encouraged to become a licenced masseuse so she could massage Musk during flights.
These claims have been unearthed by Business Insider, and refer to an alleged incident in Musk's private cabin. The flight attendant says that she found Musk "completely naked except for a sheet covering the lower half of his body." He then reportedly proceeded to expose his genitals before "touch[ing] her and offer[ing] to buy her a horse if she would 'do more,' referring to the performance of sex acts."
The flight attendant eventually left the company, and her friend says this was because of the incident with Musk. "She was being pushed out and punished for refusing to prostitute herself", the friend says. "After [Musk] exposed himself, touched her without permission, and offered to pay her for sex, she was full of anxiety."
In 2018, the matter was settled in arbitration, which Musk apparently attended himself. Severance pay of $250,000 was agreed upon, and the incident wasn't made public.
When contacted by Business Insider, Musk commented: "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." He also called the story a "politically motivated hit piece."
Many are already pointing to a recent tweet from Musk, where he hypothesizes that "political attacks on me will escalate dramatically in coming months." However, rather than this being an accurate prediction, it is more likely that he had already been asked to provide a comment on the allegations, and therefore knew they would be made public soon. The original reporter also suggests as much, saying that he reached out to Musk at 9am ET, May 18 – three hours before Musk seemingly predicted a "political attack" against himself.
SpaceX has not commented on the allegations at the time of writing.
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