SpaceX CEO Elon Musk is attending a press conference following the launch in the audience of a press site at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on May 30, 2020 following the launch of the SpaceX Demo-2 mission on the International Space Station.
NASA / Kim Shiflet
SpaceX founder Elon Musk tweeted late Thursday that “wild accusations” against him were untrue.
What are these charges, he did not explain. But his response came after a Business Insider report said Thursday that the aerospace company had paid $ 250,000 in severance pay to a flight attendant who accused the billionaire of sexual abuse.
A report citing interviews and documents obtained by the Insider states that the woman claimed that during the massage she was doing Mask, he bared his penis, touched her thigh without her consent and offered to buy her a horse if she commits sexual acts.
Musk, without referring directly to the report, wrote on Twitter that “for the record, these wild accusations are completely untrue.”
“Attacks against me should be viewed through a political prism – this is their standard (contemptuous) textbook,” he wrote on Twitter.
An insider said the alleged incident took place in Mask’s room aboard a SpaceX plane flying to London in late 2016, after the world’s richest man asked her to give him a “full body massage”.
Musk told the Insider that the story was “much more” when he asked the publication to give more time to respond to claims in the article, the publication said.
“If I were inclined to engage in sexual harassment, it is unlikely to be the first time in my 30-year career,” – said Musk wrote Insider. He also said the article was a “politically motivated hit”, the publication reported.
Insider said it postponed publication after Musk asked for more time to respond, but he never commented on the allegations.
SpaceX Vice President of Legal Affairs Christopher Kardachi quotes Insider: “I’m not going to comment on any settlement agreements.”
CNBC asked SpaceX for comment.
The Insider report appears when Tesla CEO Musk is trying to acquire social media giant Twitter.
The allegations, reported on Thursday, are set out in detail in a declaration signed by a member of the flight attendant.
The statement was made in support of a complaint filed by the woman’s lawyer with SpaceX’s human resources department in 2018 after she felt her job opportunities had shrunk after she refused sexual contact with Mask, according to Insider.
Neither a friend who spoke to Insider nor a woman who refused to give an interview to the publication are named in the article. According to the report, the flight attendant signed a non-disclosure agreement as part of the settlement with SpaceX.
An insider said the girlfriend said the flight attendant told her a story about Mask shortly after it happened.
And the publication reported that the girlfriend said she decided to disclose the woman’s allegations without first asking the flight attendant because she felt obligated, as a victim of sexual assault, to disclose the lawsuit against Mask.
Insider reported that the flight attendant’s complaint to the SpaceX HR department was “resolved quickly after a session with a mediator who was personally attended by Musk.”
News reports that Musk, SpaceX and the flight attendant in November 2018 entered into an agreement for the woman to pay several $ 250,000 in exchange for a promise not to file a lawsuit related to her claims.
Read the full Insider report here.
– CNBC Weizhen Tang and Michael Schitz contributed to this report.