Following accusations that he exposed himself on a private jet flight to London in 2016, billionaire Elon Musk denied sexually harassing a flight attendant.
The Tesla chief executive rejected “wild accusations”, published by Insider, as “utterly untrue”, adding: “It never happened.” He also joked the reports should be dubbed “Elongate”.
The business news outlet reported Mr Musk paid a flight attendant $250,000 to settle a sexual misconduct claim against him.
According to the report in Insider, the attendant accused Mr Musk of exposing himself to her, rubbing her leg without consent, and offering to buy her a horse if she gave him an erotic massage.
The flight attendant was reportedly working as a contracted member of the cabin crew on Space X’s private jets at the time.
The news outlet has reportedly seen a declaration, which was supplied by a friend of the flight attendant, in support of her claim.
In the statement, the friend said that the attendant had confided in her after the supposed 2016 incident.
According to the friend’s reported comments, the flight attendant was asked by the Tesla founder to come to his room during a flight for “a full body massage”. She arrived to find Mr Musk “completely naked except for a sheet covering the lower half of his body”, according to the claims.
It was allegedly during the massage that Mr Musk exposed himself to her and offered to buy her a horse.
Mr Musk told the publication that the story was a “politically motivated hit piece.” Responding to a request for comment, he emailed to ask for more time and said there was “a lot more to this story”.
He continued: “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.”
After the attendant sent a complaint to HR, Mr Musk settled the claim with a $250,000 payout, Insider reported.
In a series of posts on Twitter after the story was published, Mr Musk said: “The attacks against me should be viewed through a political lens – this is their standard (despicable) playbook – but nothing will deter me from fighting for a good future and your right to free speech.”
He added: “And, for the record, those wild accusations are utterly untrue.”
“But I have a challenge to this liar who claims their friend saw me ‘exposed’ – describe just one thing, anything at all (scars, tattoos, …) that isn’t known by the public. She won’t be able to do so, because it never happened,” he said.