Elon Musk, one of the world’s richest men, allegedly sexually assaulted a flight attendant aboard his private jet.
Sexual Assault Claim
Elon Musk, once (and potentially currently, depending on the value of his assets) the richest man in the world was battling claims of sexual assault this week that took place in 2016. During a flight to London aboard his private Gulfstream 650ER, Musk allegedly requested a full body massage from a flight attendant in his bedroom. The flight attendant that worked on his aircraft for some time had been encouraged to acquire training as a masseuse for long-duration flights. SpaceX generally promotes massages to reduce stress and employs staff masseuses.
Upon entering Musk’s private bedroom, the flight attendant found Musk nude but for a sheet over his lower half according to a friend of the accuser. At some point during the massage, Musk removed the sheet exposing his genitals and offered to buy her a horse if she would “do more” while touching the flight attendant’s leg. She declined. According to the accuser’s friend, the flight attendant was an avid equestrian.
The sexual misconduct claims have been denied by SpaceX who employed the flight attendant and by Musk himself.
The co-founder of Zip2, PayPal, and founder of The Boring Company, Neuralink, Tesla, and SpaceX has been at the center of news media the last few weeks after he offered to buy Twitter in its entirety. While the company has not commented publicly on any disbursements, Business Insider claims to have confirmed that SpaceX paid a flight attendant $250,000 for the alleged incident.
The accuser’s friend came forward as she could not herself due to a purported non-disclosure agreement (NDA) she executed in connection with the 2018 payment.
“While Musk did not specify which accusations he was referring to in his tweets, he told Insider there was “a lot more to this story” as he asked the publication for more time to respond to the article’s claims, according to the outlet.
“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,” Musk wrote to Insider, according to the story. He also said its article was a “politically motivated hit piece,” the outlet reported. – CNBC
He added that the “wild accusations are utterly untrue.” The claim came out just one day following an announcement that while he had voted Democrat in the past he would vote Republican in upcoming elections and that the accusations are from those who have a “major political axes to grind.”
Private Flight Attendants
Private flight attendants face challenges other flight attendants for major airlines do not. It’s possible the only passenger on the aircraft is the direct employer and, in this case, one of the richest men in the world. Privacy, bedrooms, and a unique flying schedule allow opportunities for impropriety. In the case of Musk, it also eliminates corroborating witnesses who may have been able to corroborate that the allegations made were untrue.
The accuser in this case can’t come forward directly (though it seems it would still violate her NDA if she shared the details with a friend.) A payoff is not an admission of guilt. SpaceX would likely spend far more than $250,000 on a court case regardless of the veracity of the claims made. True or not, fiscally settling the claims out of court (in this case, through a mediator) would be the more prudent decision. That said, I don’t want to cast doubt on the claims made – just two people know what really happened on that flight and I am neither one of them. The matter does bring to light just how difficult being a private flight attendant can be and the precarious situations one can find themselves in.
What do you think? Is there a way to maintain privacy but allow protections for private flight attendants?