On Thursday evening, Insider released a report alleging that in 2018, SpaceX paid one of its flight attendants $250,000 as severance after the company’s CEO, Elon Musk, sexually harassed her.
According to the flight attendant and her friend, Musk exposed his penis, propositioned sex, and offered to buy her a horse as a bribe. The alleged incident took place in 2016, and while it’s not the first instance of sexual harassment at SpaceX, it’s the first public allegation of sexual misconduct against Elon Musk. The report comes after a rollercoaster month of headlines for Time magazine’s 2021 Person of the Year: poison pill threats, antitrust violation concerns, so, so many tweets, and a stalled plan to buy the entirety of Twitter.
Musk, the richest person in the world, has been stewing about future hit pieces this week.
In-house massages —
According to documents obtained by Insider, the flight attendant was encouraged to become licensed as a masseuse in order to give Musk massages. In-house massages are a common perk for employees at the company. On a trip to London on Musk’s private jet, during one of the massages, she alleges that he propositioned her for sex, showed her his genitals, and touched her thigh. Per the report, he also offered to buy the flight attendant, who rides horses, her own horse in exchange for sexual favors.
The flight attendant reportedly told a friend about the incident the next day on a hike. According to the friend, she was shaken and anxious. After the incident, the flight attendant noticed her shifts were cut and felt as though her opportunities at SpaceX had been stifled. She hired a California employment lawyer and complained to SpaceX’s HR department. She eventually reached a severance agreement with Musk and SpaceX in November 2018: $250,000 in exchange for an agreement to keep the issue out of court and a non-disclosure agreement.
The friend chose to come forward now, telling Insider that when you stay silent, "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."