- A flight attendant for SpaceX stated Elon Musk requested her to “do more” throughout a therapeutic massage, paperwork present.
- The billionaire founder uncovered his penis to her and provided to purchase her a horse, in accordance with claims in a declaration.
- After she reported the incident to SpaceX, Musk’s firm paid her $250,000 as a part of a severance settlement.
SpaceX, the aerospace agency based by Elon Musk, the world’s wealthiest man, paid a flight attendant $250,000 to settle a sexual misconduct declare towards Musk in 2018, Insider has discovered.
The attendant labored as a member of the cabin crew on a contract foundation for SpaceX’s company jet fleet. She accused Musk of exposing his erect penis to her, rubbing her leg with out consent, and providing to purchase her a horse in change for an erotic therapeutic massage, in accordance with interviews and paperwork obtained by Insider.
The incident, which occurred in 2016, is alleged in a declaration signed by a pal of the attendant and ready in assist of her declare. The particulars on this story are drawn from the declaration in addition to different paperwork, together with e-mail correspondence and different data shared with Insider by the pal.
According to the declaration, the attendant confided to the pal that after taking the flight attendant job, she was inspired to get licensed as a masseuse in order that she may give Musk massages. It was throughout one such therapeutic massage in a non-public cabin on Musk’s Gulfstream G650ER, she advised the pal, that Musk propositioned her.
After Insider contacted Musk for remark, he emailed to ask for extra time to reply and stated there’s “a lot more to this story.”
“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,” he wrote, calling the story is a “politically motivated hit piece.”
Insider prolonged the deadline and reiterated the supply to Musk to touch upon the claims. He didn’t reply.
Reached through cellphone, SpaceX vice chairman of authorized Christopher Cardaci stated, “I’m not going to comment on any settlement agreements.” SpaceX didn’t reply to requests for remark to its normal media contact e-mail handle.
An allegation that Musk provided a horse in change for an erotic therapeutic massage
The flight attendant advised her pal that the billionaire SpaceX and Tesla founder requested her to come back to his room throughout a flight in late 2016 “for a full body massage,” the declaration says. When she arrived, the attendant discovered that Musk “was completely naked except for a sheet covering the lower half of his body.” During the therapeutic massage, the declaration says, Musk “exposed his genitals” after which “touched her and offered to buy her a horse if she would ‘do more,’ referring to the performance of sex acts.”
The attendant, who rides horses, declined and continued with the therapeutic massage with out partaking in any sexual conduct. The attendant “is not for sale,” the pal’s declaration stated. “She is not going to perform sexual favors for money or gifts.” The incident occurred throughout a flight to London.
In an interview with Insider, the pal described the attendant’s allegations in additional element. She spoke on the situation of anonymity, citing fears for her private security, however Insider is conscious of her identification. Insider can be conscious of the flight attendant’s identification, however will not be naming her as a result of she has claimed to be a sufferer of sexual misconduct. She declined to remark for this story.
“He whipped out his penis, it was erect,” the pal stated, describing the allegations. “And he started propositioning her, like he touched her thigh and told her he would buy her a horse. And he basically tried to bribe her to perform some sort of sexual favor.”
“Punished for refusing to prostitute herself”
The pal stated that the attendant advised her concerning the misconduct whereas they had been on a hike collectively shortly after the London journey. The pal described the attendant as distraught and visibly shaken. “She was really upset,” the pal stated. “She didn’t know what to do.”
The flight attendant advised her pal that work started to dry up after she refused Musk’s advances. “Before the incident, she regarded Mr. Musk as a person to look up to,” the declaration says. “But after he exposed himself, touched her without permission, and offered to pay her for sex, she was full of anxiety.”
“She figured things could just go back to normal and she would pretend like nothing happened,” the pal advised Insider. “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.”
Eventually, the declaration says, the attendant felt “she was being pushed out and punished for refusing to prostitute herself.”
Massages on demand
SpaceX locations a particular emphasis on massages, going as far as to make use of in-house therapeutic massage therapists as a perk for executives. According to the pal, the flight attendant was inspired by her superiors to buy her personal skilled therapeutic massage coaching for her classes with Musk.
“They encouraged her to get licensed as a masseuse, but on her own time, on her own dime,” the pal stated. “They implied that she would get to fly more often if she were to do this because she’d be able to give Elon proper massages. I thought that was kind of strange because — you weren’t hired to be a masseuse. You were hired to be a flight attendant. And if Elon likes massages, then he should be paying for you to go to masseuse school. But she was just so happy and eager to have the job and be able to travel.”
A $250,000 severance fee
In 2018, after turning into satisfied that her refusal to just accept Musk’s proposal had diminished her alternatives at SpaceX, the attendant employed a California employment lawyer and despatched a grievance to the corporate’s human sources division detailing the episode. Around that point, the legal professional’s agency contacted the pal and requested her to organize the declaration corroborating the claims.
The attendant’s grievance was resolved shortly after a session with a mediator that Musk personally attended. The matter by no means reached a court docket of regulation or an arbitration continuing. In November 2018, Musk, SpaceX and the flight attendant entered right into a severance settlement granting the attendant a $250,000 fee in change for a promise to not sue over the claims.
The settlement additionally included restrictive non-disclosure and non-disparagement clauses that bar the attendant from ever discussing the severance fee or disclosing any data of any sort about Musk and his companies, together with SpaceX and Tesla.
Musk is at the moment engaged in a bid to buy Twitter pushed by his professed perception that “free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy.” Earlier this month, he wrote on Twitter that “sunlight is the best disinfectant.”
Twitter didn’t reply to a request for remark.
“When you choose to remain silent, you become part of that system”
The pal advised Insider that she determined to come back ahead with out consulting the flight attendant as a result of, as a survivor of sexual assault, she felt an obligation to share what she has been advised about Musk. Unlike the flight attendant, her pal will not be certain by any non-disclosure settlement.
“I absolutely felt a responsibility to come forward with it, especially now,” she stated. “He is the richest man in the world. Someone with that level of power causing that kind of harm and then throwing some money at the situation, that’s not accountability. There are predators all over the world. But when someone is particularly wealthy and powerful, they literally have systems that are like a machine working for them, to set them up to be able to do whatever they want.”
Remaining silent, the pal stated, would make her complicit. “When you choose to remain silent, yeah, you do become a part of that system,” she stated. “You do become a part of that machine that allows someone like Elon Musk to continue to do the horrible things that he’s done.”
Non-disclosure agreements are essential parts of that machine. The pal stated that earlier than she reached out to Insider, she known as the legal professional who represented the sufferer. The legal professional advised her that, though she was free to talk to the press, sharing any paperwork from the case — together with her personal declaration — may put the flight attendant in danger.
“Her primary concern was clearly her client,” the pal stated. She recalled the legal professional saying that confidentiality provisions are “bullshit” and that if another ladies have been victimized by Musk, they ought to come back ahead. But when it got here to her shopper, the legal professional urged the pal to not share the declaration. “That would be a massive problem,” she advised the pal.
California, the place SpaceX is headquartered, now not permits corporations to require non-disclosure clauses in agreements just like the one the attendant signed. Just months after her settlement in 2018, then-Gov. Jerry Brown signed into regulation the “Stand Against Non-Disclosure Act,” which bars the usage of NDAs going ahead in settlements involving sexual harassment, discrimination, or assault until they’re requested by the plaintiff.
The legal professional didn’t reply to requests for remark.
“If there were a way for [her] to come forward without putting herself at risk, without jeopardizing her life in any way, I believe she would,” the pal of the attendant advised Insider. “I hope she feels like I did the right thing. I hope she feels I said the things that she didn’t feel safe enough to say.”
“I would like for the truth to be revealed”
This is the one identified allegation and settlement for sexual misconduct tied personally to Musk.
Two of his corporations, nevertheless, have confronted allegations of sexual harassment up to now. In December 2021, the identical week he was named Time’s Person of the Year, 4 ladies who labored at SpaceX spoke out about sexual harassment they stated they confronted on the firm, the place Musk is the CEO. One, Ashley Kosak, printed an essay recounting being groped and touched inappropriately by male workers whereas she was an intern. Three others — one in all whom stated she was certain by a non-disclosure settlement — recounted comparable therapy to the New York Times.
In response to the stories, SpaceX president and chief working officer Gwynne Shotwell despatched a company-wide e-mail saying that “timely reporting of harassment is key to our maintaining SpaceX as a great place to work; we can’t fix what we don’t know,” the Times reported. She added that SpaceX will “rigorously investigate all harassment or discrimination claims and take rapid and appropriate action when we find our policy is violated.”
And a minimum of six ladies have sued Tesla, the place Musk is the CEO, alleging sexual harassment at a Tesla manufacturing facility. Men on the manufacturing facility ogled ladies and remarked on their garments, the complaints stated, main some ladies to put on dishevelled outfits and use stacks of bins to impede the views of leering co-workers. Some of the ladies claimed they had been retaliated towards after they got here ahead.
The pal advised Insider that if anybody else was mistreated by Musk, she hopes they’ll publicly inform their story. If there are different victims, she stated, “I would like for them to come forward. I would like for the truth to be revealed.”
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