SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell defended Elon Musk against sexual harassment allegations in an email to employees Monday, to which the company CEO responded in a tweet.
Musk has denied a claim by a flight attendant of exposing his penis to her and rubbing her leg without consent in 2016 on a private company jet. She was reportedly paid $250,000 as part of a severance agreement in 2018.
In her email, Shotwell said she does not believe the claim.
“I believe the allegations to be false; not because I work for Elon, but because I have worked closely with him for 20 yrs & never seen nor heard anything resembling these allegations,” she wrote.
In a response to a tweet about the email, Musk said he doesn’t use a flight attendant.
“Astute observers of my plane (and there many) will note that I don’t use a flight attendant,” he wrote. “Moreover, only fruit & nuts are stocked on the plane. I use flights as an opportunity to fast.”
According to the report, the flight attendant worked on a contract basis in the cabin crew for SpaceX’s corporate jet fleet. She told a friend that SpaceX encouraged her to get licensed as a masseuse, so she could give Musk massages, Business Insider reported. She said Musk propositioned her during one such massage.
In response to the report, Musk questioned who the “friend” was, calling her “a far left activist/actress in LA with a major political axe to grind.”
He further stated the Insider report was an attempt to interfere with his acquisition of Twitter.
In previous interviews, the SpaceX CEO called the allegations “politically motivated.”
“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 wrote in a May 19 tweet. A day before that tweet, Musk tweeted a prediction that political attacks on him would “escalate dramatically.”
Musk recently announced he intends to buy Twitter for $44 billion and take it private but suggested Saturday the buyout price should be slashed by the number of bot accounts on the platform.
Fox Business’ Emma Colton contributed to this report.