Looks like the Elon Musk rocket is about to crash and burn…
So if you don’t follow the Tesla CEO on Twitter — you know, the app he thought he was about to buy — there was quite the interesting development on Wednesday. He put out a series of tweets about how he will exclusively vote Republican because Democrats are evil, blah blah blah. But then he followed it up with a couple more ominous messages:
“Now watch their dirty tricks campaign against me unfold…”
“Political attacks on me will escalate dramatically in coming months”
If you’ve been in this business as long as we have, you can smell a PR strategy like this a mile off. We immediately thought to ourselves, “OK, is Elon trying to get ahead of a bad story coming out?” After all, news outlets reach out for a comment before they publish — so public figures are very rarely blindsided by stories. Not to mention the fact they know what they did…
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Calling out future “political attacks” may work with his cultish followers, but it doesn’t really make any sense. We mean… all he did was say he’s gonna vote Republican. It’s not like that’s a big surprise. Most billionaires do, because that’s the party that gives them the best tax breaks.
Anyhoo, it only took about 24 hours before our suspicions were confirmed. Business Insider turned out to be the outlet with the scoop, and here it is:
Elon Musk secretly paid a SpaceX flight attendant $250,000 to settle a sexual misconduct claim in 2018. And they have all the details.
A friend of the flight attendant opened up to the site, signing a declaration and also handing over various correspondence and documents. All of the following comes from this source and their records:
According to the source, the young woman worked as cabin crew for SpaceX’s corporate jet fleet in 2016. After taking the job, she was encouraged to get a massage license as well, specifically so she could be tasked with giving Elon massages whenever he wanted. OK, ew already. The friend says:
“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.”
But that’s just the start of the line-crossing. During a flight to London on his Gulfstream G650ER, the woman claimed, Elon asked her to come to his private cabin to give him “a full body massage.” When she entered, he “was completely naked except for a sheet covering the lower half of his body.” During the massage, she said, he purposely “exposed his genitals” and then “touched her and offered to buy her a horse if she would ‘do more,’ referring to the performance of sex acts.”
Sorry, a horse?! What an odd detail… The source told the site:
“He whipped out his penis, it was erect. 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.”
Apparently the flight attendant rides horses, and Elon was informed of this at some point. Anyway, she rejected the offer and continued with the massage in a professional manner.
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Later she opened up to the friend about this while on a hike. The friend described her as distraught over the incident:
“She was really upset. She didn’t know what to do.”
First, the friend says, this obviously ruined her job for her:
“Before the incident, she regarded Mr. Musk as a person to look up to. But after he exposed himself, touched her without permission, and offered to pay her for sex, she was full of anxiety.”
Then the job started to go away, in a pattern any waitress or other hourly worker who’s been the victim of misconduct will recognize:
“She figured things could just go back to normal and she would pretend like nothing happened. 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.”
The attendant (whose identity Insider says they have but are keeping secret to protect a victim of sexual misconduct) felt like “she was being pushed out and punished for refusing to prostitute herself.” Eventually, in 2018, she hired a lawyer and filed a complaint through SpaceX’s HR department. She told her story, and the attorney got the friend’s sworn statement as contemporary corroboration.
But this story never saw a courtroom, hence us never hearing anything about it.
She and Elon met with a mediator, and she was offered a severance payment of $250k in exchange for a promise never to file a lawsuit over the claim. The written agreement includes non-disclosure and non-disparagement clauses that prevent her from telling this story to anyone else — or saying anything about the severance payment at all.
Yeah. It’s a hush money payment.
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The friend, however, is not bound by the agreement. And after Elon started going off about “free speech” and sunlight being “the best disinfectant,” she felt an obligation to come forward. She said:
“I absolutely felt a responsibility to come forward with it, especially now. 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.”
Interestingly, California — where SpaceX is based — no longer allows the use of NDAs in settlements involving sexual harassment, discrimination, or assault.
As we said, Insider followed the rules and reached out to Elon for comment. He emailed back asking for more time to respond, telling them there is “a lot more to this story.” He then argued:
“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.”
Insider actually did give him an extension.
But of course, we know what he did after that — he goes online and says he’s a target of political attacks right before a damning piece comes out. He went hard pro-Republican and said the boogeyman Democrats would come and get him for it. Hmm.. sounds oddly familiar…
What do YOU think about these accusations, Perezcious readers??
[Image via TedTalks/ABC News/YouTube.]