SpaceX CEO Elon Musk participates in a postlaunch news conference contained in the Press Site auditorium at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on May 30, 2020, following the launch of the agency’s SpaceX Demo-2 mission to the International Space Station.
SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk said in a tweet late Thursday that “wild accusations” against him are usually not true.
He didn’t explain what those accusations were. But his response got here after a Business Insider report on Thursday said the aerospace company had paid $250,000 in severance to a flight attendant who accused the billionaire of sexual misconduct.
The report, which cited interviews and documents obtained by Insider, said the girl claimed that in a massage she was giving Musk he exposed his erect penis, touched her thigh without her consent and offered to purchase her a horse if she performed sex acts. CNBC couldn’t independently confirm those allegations.
Musk, without referring on to the report, tweeted that “for the record, those wild accusations are utterly unfaithful.”
“The attacks against me needs to be viewed through a political lens – that is their standard (despicable) playbook,” he tweeted.
Insider reported that the alleged incident occurred in Musk’s room aboard a SpaceX jet on a flight to London in late 2016, after the world’s richest person asked her to provide him a “full body massage.”
CNBC reached out to Musk and SpaceX for comment on those allegations but didn’t immediately hear back.
Musk told Insider there was “loads more to this story” as he asked the publication for more time to reply to the article’s claims, based on the outlet.
“If I were inclined to interact in sexual harassment, that is unlikely to be the primary time in my entire 30-year profession that it involves light,” Musk reportedly wrote Insider. He also said its article was a “politically motivated hit piece,” the outlet reported.
Insider reported that it moved the publication deadline after Musk requested more time to reply, but that he never made further comment on the allegations.
Christopher Cardaci, legal affairs vp at SpaceX, was quoted by Insider as saying, “I’m not going to comment on any settlement agreements.”
The Insider report comes as Musk, who can be CEO of Tesla, is engaged in an effort to buy social media giant Twitter.
The allegations reported Thursday are detailed in a declaration signed by a friend of the flight attendant.
That declaration was made to support a grievance that the girl’s lawyer had made to SpaceX’s human resources department in 2018 after she felt that her work opportunities at the corporate dwindled after she declined to interact in sexual contact with Musk, based on Insider.
Neither the friend, who spoke with Insider, nor the girl, who declined to be interviewed by the publication, was identified by name within the article. The flight attendant signed a nondisclosure agreement as a part of her settlement with SpaceX, based on the report.
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Insider reported that the friend said the flight attendant told her the story about Musk shortly after it happened.
And the outlet reported that the friend said she decided to disclose the girl’s allegation without first asking the flight attendant because she felt obliged as a survivor of sexual assault to reveal the claim against Musk.
Insider reported that the flight attendant’s grievance to SpaceX’s HR department was “resolved quickly after a session with a mediator that Musk personally attended.”
The news outlet said Musk, SpaceX and the flight attendant in November 2018 entered into an agreement to have the girl paid $250,000 in severance in exchange for promising to not file a lawsuit connected to her claims.
— CNBC’s Weizhen Tan and Michael Sheetz contributed to this report.