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SpaceX president defends Elon Musk over sexual misconduct allegations

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SpaceX President and COO Gwynne Shotwell defended Elon Musk in an email to employees last week, responding to sexual misconduct allegations directed on the CEO, CNBC has learned.

“Personally, I feel the allegations to be false; not because I work for Elon, but because I even have worked closely with him for 20 years and never seen nor heard anything resembling these allegations,” Shotwell wrote in a companywide email sent on Friday and seen by CNBC.

Musk has denied the allegations, which claim he propositioned a flight attendant on considered one of SpaceX’s private jets in 2016, calling them “wild accusations.”

In a response to Business Insider, which reported the allegations and that the flight attendant was paid $250,000 severance after confronting the corporate, Musk said there’s “rather a lot more to this story,” describing it as a “politically motivated hit piece.” Neither Musk nor SpaceX’s vp of the legal department, Christopher Cardaci, denied the payment in statements to Business Insider.

Shotwell emphasized in her email that she “won’t ever comment on any legal matters involving employment issues” before noting Musk publicly denied the allegations as “utterly unfaithful” in a tweet.

Shotwell, who’s No. 2 at SpaceX and the corporate’s top female executive, also noted in the e-mail that SpaceX has a “ZERO tolerance” policy for harassment, adding that each accusation is taken seriously and investigated, “no matter who’s involved.”

SpaceX didn’t immediately reply to CNBC’s request for comment on Shotwell’s email.

SpaceX President and COO Gwynne Shotwell

Jay Westcott / NASA

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