New Delhi: The world’s richest man, Elon Musk, has dismissed as “utterly untrue” accusations that his aerospace firm SpaceX paid off $250,000 to a flight attendant in 2018 to settle a sexual harassment claim against him.
Musk tweeted late Thursday: “For the record, those wild accusations are utterly untrue.”
Hours earlier, a report in the ‘Business Insider’ claimed the billionaire allegedly “exposed his erect penis, rubbed the attendant’s leg without consent, and offered to buy her a horse in exchange for an erotic massage”. She was a cabin crew member at SpaceX’s fleet of private jets, the report said.
The 2016 incident is alleged in a declaration by the flight attendant’s friend, “prepared in support of her claim”, the report said.
Musk called this woman a liar and wrote on Twitter: “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.”
Musk tweeted: “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.”
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
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 20, 2022
The Business Insider report said the girl told her friend “she was encouraged to get licensed as a masseuse so that she could give Musk massages”. “It was during one such massage in a private cabin on Musk’s Gulfstream G650ER, she told the friend, that Musk propositioned her,” the report said.
The flight attendant told her friend that the Tesla founder asked her to come to his room during a flight “for a full body massage”.
When she arrived, the attendant found Musk “was completely naked except for a sheet covering the lower half of his body”. During the massage, Musk “exposed his genitals” and then “touched her and offered to buy her a horse if she would ‘do more’, referring to the performance of sex acts”, according to the report.
The attendant, who rides horses, apparently declined and continued with the massage without engaging in any sexual conduct. The attendant “is not for sale”, the report quoted from the friend’s declaration.
The report further claimed: “In November 2018, Musk, SpaceX and the flight attendant entered into a severance agreement granting the attendant a $250,000 payment in exchange for a promise not to sue over the claims.”
Contacted for a response, Musk wrote back to ‘Business Insider’: “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,” adding, the story was a “politically motivated hit piece”.
He also tweeted that any scandal about him could now be called “Elongate”. “Finally, we get to use Elongate as scandal name. It’s kinda perfect,” he wrote.