SpaceX CEO Elon Musk was accused of sexual misconduct by a flight attendant of the company's corporate jet fleet in 2016 and later paid the woman $250,000 to settle the claim, a new report by Insider reveals.
The incident happened in 2016, in one of Musk's plane during a flight to London. According to interviews and documents obtained by Insider the details of the incident are mentioned in a declaration which is signed by a friend of the attendant.
As per the declaration, Musk exposed himself and attempted to touch the attendant inappropriately without her consent. Since SpaceX is known to employ in-house massages as an added benefit for executives, the attendant was advised to get an official massage license.
On the flight she was asked to give Musk a massage in a private cabin. The document states that during the massage, Musk "exposed his genitals" and because she rode horses as a hobby, he then "touched her leg and offered to buy her a horse if she would 'do more,' referring to performance of sex acts."
While the attendant declined and finished the massage, she later reached out to a California employment lawyer in 2018 and sent an official complaint to the HR department of SpaceX as she believed her refusal to accept Musk's proposition negatively affected her opportunities at work.
According to the Daily Mail, "she figured things could just go back to normal and she would pretend like nothing happened," the flight attendant's friend revealed, "However, she started to feel as if she was receiving some sort of retaliation where her shifts were cut back, and she was starting to feel really stressed."
In an effort to resolve the issue as soon as possible, an agreement was worked out and as per Insider reports, the attendant was offered $250,000 as long as she promised not to sue over the claims. Non-disclosure and non-disparagement agreements were also incorporated in the settlement which prohibit the attendant from disclosing any information associated with the settlement or anything related to Musk and his business.
When the SpaceX CEO was reached out for a comment by Insider he requested for some time to officially make a statement but added that there is, "a lot more to this story." Referring to the story as "politically motivated hit piece," he also mentioned, "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."
When the SpaceX vice president of legal Christopher Cardaci was contacted for the same he said, "I'm not going to comment on any settlement agreements." Several media outlets are currently awaiting an official statement from the SpaceX executives acknowledging the claim.