SpaceX CEO Elon Musk denied a sexual assault claim from a former flight attendant, whom the company reportedly paid $250,000 as part of a severance agreement in 2018.
Musk, in a Thursday tweet following the story, claimed the story should be "viewed through a political lens."
The attendant worked on a contract basis in the cabin crew for SpaceX's corporate jet fleet. She accused Musk of exposing his erect penis to her, rubbing her leg without consent, and offering to buy her a horse in exchange for an erotic massage, according to Business Insider.
A declaration signed by the attendant's friend detailed the incident, which reportedly took place in 2016. Email correspondence and other records, which the friend provided to Business Insider, reportedly corroborate the claims. The attendant reportedly told her friend that SpaceX encouraged her to get licensed as a masseuse, so she could give Musk massages. She said Musk propositioned her during one such massage.
Musk denied the sexual claims in a brief statement to Business Insider, insisting that there is "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 a "politically motivated hit piece."
The SpaceX CEO requested more time to respond, and while Business Insider did give him more time, he did not respond by press time. Christopher Cardaci, the company's vice president of legal, told the outlet, "I'm not going to comment on any settlement agreements."
SpaceX did not immediately respond to an after-hours request for comment from FOX Business.
Musk appeared to address the story on Twitter, saying that attacks against him should be viewed as political.
"The attacks against me should be viewed through a political lens – this is their standard (despicable) playbook – but nothing will deter me from fighting for a good future and your right to free speech," the SpaceX CEO wrote.
In a follow-up tweet thread, Musk wrote, "for the record, those wild accusations are utterly untrue."
"But I have a challenge to this liar who claims their friend saw me ‘exposed’ – describe just one thing, anything at all (scars, tattoos, …) that isn’t known by the public," the CEO added. "She won’t be able to do so, because it never happened."
Musk also joked about using the name "Elongate" for the scandal.
The flight attendant told her friend that Musk asked her to come to his private room during a 2016 flight for a "full body massage," according to the declaration. The attendant reportedly found Musk "completely naked except for a sheet covering the lower half of his body." He reportedly exposed himself to her during the massage, touched her, and urged her to "do more" in exchange for a horse. She declined.
The attendant found her work with SpaceX beginning to dry up after the incident, and in 2018, she contacted a California employment attorney and sent a complaint to the company's human resources department detailing the episode.
SpaceX resolved the complaint after a session involving a mediator and Musk himself. The matter never reached a court of law.
In November 2018, Musk, SpaceX and the attendant entered into a severance agreement granting the attendant $250,000 in exchange for a promise not to sue over the claims. The agreement also included non-disclosure and non-disparagement clauses barring the attendant from disclosing any information about Musk and his businesses.
Musk, who is in the process of acquiring Twitter for $44 billion, has faced renewed criticism from the left after he announced that he would reverse former President Trump's ban from the platform. He also said the platform has a "strong" left-wing bias.
The SpaceX CEO said he would vote Republican in the coming midterm elections and attacked President Joe Biden, saying, "The real president is whoever controls the teleprompter."