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NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MAY 02:  Elon Musk and Maye Musk arrive to the 2022 Met Gala Celebrating "In America: An Anthology of Fashion" at Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 02, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by James Devaney/GC Images)
History - Science
Content Warning
This story contains discussions of sexual harassment.
As the richest man on Earth, billionaire and SpaceX founder Elon Musk is no stranger to controversy. However, he has now been hit with serious allegations of sexual misconduct — an anonymous flight attendant has accused him of exposing himself to her during a private SpaceX flight to London in 2016.
According to the allegations, Elon Musk propositioned the flight attendant while naked, offering to buy her a horse (she was an avid horse rider) if she gave him a massage and performed sexual acts on him. Moreover, the woman alleges that he touched her without her consent and that he "exposed his genitals."
Before this incident, she was also told that she would get more work opportunities if she paid for her own massage training. Documents show that the flight attendant was paid $250,000 to remain silent, but she has broken her silence in part because she doesn’t want to contribute to the system that enables Musk’s behavior.
Some internet comments raised the question of SpaceX flight attendants at all, apparently thinking the alleged incident took place during a space flight, rather than on a company jet. One redditor wrote, "Since when did Spacex need flight attendants?" and another mentioned a "starship travel agency."
Musk has responded to these claims on Twitter, saying they are politically motivated at best, but this is not the first time Tesla and SpaceX have faced accusations of sexual misconduct, even if previous accusations haven’t been about Musk directly. Ashley Kosak, a former SpaceX employee, has recently revealed her experience of sexual harassment at work, and four other SpaceX employees have come forward with similar stories of abuse and lack of redress.