SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk denied a sexual assault claim from a former flight attendant in a tweet following a story by Business Insider. Musk claimed that the story should be "viewed through a political lens."
The company reportedly paid $250,000 to the former employee as part of a severance agreement in 2018.
According to Business Insider, the flight attendant who worked on in the cabin crew for SpaceX's corporate jet fleet on a contract basis, accused Musk of exposing his erect penis to her, rubbing her leg without consent, and offering to buy her a horse in exchange for an erotic massage.
A friend of the flight attendant signed a declaration which detailed the reported incident from 2016.
The outlet reported that the friend provided email correspondence and other records which corroborate the claims. The flight attendant reportedly told the friend that SpaceX encouraged her to get licensed as a masseuse, so that she could give Musk massages and claimed that Musk propositioned her during a massage.
According to the declaration, the flight attendant told her friend that Musk asked her to come to his private room during a 2016 flight for a "full body massage," where the attendant reportedly found Musk "completely naked except for a sheet covering the lower half of his body."
Business Insider added that Musk exposed himself to her during the massage, touched her, and asked her to "do more" in exchange for a horse, which she declined.
Following the incident, the flight attendant found she had less work with SpaceX. In 2018, she contacted a California employment attorney and sent a complaint to the SpaceX's human resources department detailing the incident.
The issue never went to court because SpaceX resolved the complaint after a session with a mediator and Musk himself.
Musk, SpaceX and the flight attendant entered into a severance agreement in November of 2018. The agreement granted the flight attendant $250,000 in exchange for a pledge not to sue over the claims. The agreement also reportedly included non-disclosure and non-disparagement clauses which barred the flight attendant from disclosing any information about Musk and his businesses.
Musk denied the claims in a statement to Business Insider, and said there is "a lot more to this story."
He wrote, "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 called the story a "politically motivated hit piece."
Musk requested more time to respond to the outlet's request, who agreed but the SpaceX CEO did not respond by press time. SpaceX’s the vice president of legal Christopher Cardaci, told Business Insider, "I'm not going to comment on any settlement agreements."
A Tesla owners' group on the platform asked Musk if he had responded to the reporters from Business Insider. Musk replied, "No it was clear that their only goal was a hit price (piece) to interfere with the Twitter acquisition. The story was written before they even talked to me."
Musk posted on Twitter, saying that the attacks against him 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."
Musk added to the thread, "for the record, those wild accusations are utterly untrue. But 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. he won’t be able to do so, because it never happened."
Musk, has been targeted by the political left during the process of acquiring Twitter for $44 billion after he announced that he would reverse former President Donald Trump's ban from the platform, adding that the social media platform has a "strong" left-wing bias.
Musk also said recently that he would vote Republican in the coming midterm elections. He also attacked President Joe Biden saying, "The real president is whoever controls the teleprompter."
Musk tweeted on Wednesday that he feels he was "spot on" with a previous tweet saying that a "campaign against him" would "unfold."
He added in another tweet the same day that "Political attacks on me will escalate dramatically in coming months."
Musk also retweeted later in the evening a previous tweet he posted which said "If there's ever a scandal about me, please call it Elongate," adding, "Finally, we get to use Elongate as a scandal name. It's kinda perfect."
Daily Wire editor emeritus Ben Shapiro pointed out in a tweet regarding the settlement, "The amount of money for a settlement of this sort is absolutely deminimus, and everyone who understands corporate law knows this."