Online financial news website Insider reports that in 2018, SpaceX paid $250,000 over a sexual harassment claim by a flight attendant against CEO Elon Musk. The flight attendant who accused Musk did not speak directly with Insider. According to another source who spoke to Insider, the allegations were that in 2016, Musk had exposed himself to a flight attendant while aboard a company jet, touched her leg and requested that she give him an erotic massage. Musk also allegedly offered to buy the flight attendant a horse and that the flight attendant believed her shifts were later reduced as punishment for refusing Musk’s advances.
Other accusations have been made against SpaceX
After the settlement was announced by Insider, Musk tweeted that the Insider report was “utterly untrue.” He called the story a political “hit piece” designed to discredit him after announcing he was buying Twitter. But other claims against SpaceX have not resulted in consequences for the accused.
While this is the first public sexual harassment claim against Musk, three women who interned at SpaceX in 2017 and 2018 alleged that they experienced unwanted advances and sexual harassment from other interns and men in senior roles with the company. These incidents were detailed in a December 2021 New York Times article.
One intern said she was groped while living at quarters set up for interns and later at a company event in 2018. The woman said she reported the first incident to her manager and the second to human resources but did not receive responses to either complaint. As an intern, she said she felt powerless to take further action.