The storm is brewing around Elon Musk. No, not this time for the takeover (or not) of Twitter, nor for space flights, or even electric cars. The richest man in the world and his flagship companies, Tesla and SpaceX, are the subject of several sexual assault complaints and denunciations.
The latest testimony is published on May 20, in Insider and dates back to 2016. A woman explains that her flight attendant friend at SpaceX, after being hired, was recommended to train as a masseuse in order to operate on the multi-billionaire’s private jet, a Gulfstream G650ER. What she did. It was during a massage in the private cabin of the jet that the event would have taken place.
A horse offered for sex
According to her allegations, Elon Musk, naked under his towel, turned around during the massage, showed her his erect penis, and started touching her. Then he would have offered to buy her a horse (the hostess is avid horse-rider) if she “did more”. She refuses and leaves.
Worried about her position, she prefers to act “as if nothing had happened”. But the company is gradually removing it from the schedules. In 2018, she hired a lawyer and sent a sex abuse report to SpaceX, backed up by signed testimony from colleagues. After a meeting, in which Elon Musk participated, the case is settled without having to plead in court, as allowed by American law. SpaceX signs her a check for $250,000 so that the case does not go further in court and that she remains silent.
“These accusations are totally false”
Agreements of this type have been prohibited since late 2018 in California in cases of sexual assault, discrimination or assault, unless it is at the request of the victim. SpaceX’s headquarters are in Hawthorne. Even if Elon Musk would like to move it to Texas.
Technically, the victim did not break his contract: it was a friend and former colleague who did.
On Twitter, Elon Musk defended himself. “These accusations are totally false.” “I challenge this liar who says her friend saw me ‘discovered’: name me one thing, anything (scars, tattoos…) that is not publicly known,” he said. -he declares. “She can’t do it, because it never happened.”
“Political attacks” after joining the Republicans
And to continue: “The attacks on me must be observed with a political prism – it is their (despicable) usual way of doing things”. Indeed, on May 18, Elon Musk tweets that he will no longer vote Democrats but Republicans. Since then, the critics fuse. He even warned that “political attacks” against him “will increase drastically in the coming months”.
However, as revealed Insider and The Verge, these tweets appeared just after the editors tried to contact him to react to these allegations. After several repeated requests, Elon Musk ended up responding to Insider “If I was a sexual aggressor, other testimonies would have already been made public during my 30-year career”.
The sexual “predation zones” of Tesla and SpaceX
Yet SpaceX and Tesla have previously been at the center of allegations of sexual assault and inappropriate behavior. In 2021, five former SpaceX employees revealed that they suffered attacks and advances from colleagues and their superiors. For example Ashley Kosak describes multiple touching. And although reports were brought to the attention of human resources, no action or response was ever made.
A woman went public with her daily life at Tesla, in Fremont: “Almost every day, for three years, my female colleagues and I suffered sexual objectification, threats, touching or even indecent proposals in the lines of the workshops”. Jessica Barraza repeatedly reported the issues to human resources, to no avail, before filing a criminal complaint in November 2021. A month earlier, Tesla was ordered to pay a Fremont employee $137 million for racism and a hostile environment. And already in 2017, the Fremont branch was described as a “predation zone” by an engineer in a lawsuit.
In all the complaints and in all the testimonies, one opinion comes back: that this sexist culture is dubbed from above. “When Elon Musk tweets sexist things, it reinforces the group’s harassers’ sense of impunity. After all, if he talks about it, it’s because it’s allowed, ”describes Jessica Barraza.
As usual, Elon Musk spoke… on Twitter. By making a joke below the belt: “Finally, we will be able to use Elongate as a nickname for a scandal. Perfect for now”. “Elongate”, in English, can be translated as “elongated”.