Insider has learned that the company founded by Musk paid $250,000 to a flight attendant to settle a sexual harassment claim.

The attendant was a member of the cabin crew for the corporate jet fleet. She accused Musk of exposing his erect penis to her, rubbing her leg without consent, and offering to buy her a horse in exchange for an erotic massage, according to interviews and documents obtained by Insider.

A friend of the attendant prepared a declaration in support of her claim that the incident took place in 2016 The details in this story are drawn from the declaration and other documents, as well as email correspondence and other records shared with Insider by the friend.

According to the declaration, the flight attendant told a friend that she was encouraged to become a masseuse after taking the job. She told a friend that Musk propositioned her during a massage in a private cabin.

After Insider contacted Musk, he asked for more time to respond and said there was more to the story.

If I were to engage in sexual harassment, it would be the first time in my entire 30-year career that it came to light.

The offer to Musk to comment on the claims was reiterated by Insider. He didn't reply.

Christopher Cardaci, vice president of legal for the company, said he was not going to comment on any settlements.

An allegation that Musk offered a horse in exchange for an erotic massage

According to the declaration, the flight attendant told her friend that the billionaire asked her to come to his room during the flight for a full body massage. Musk was completely nude except for a sheet covering the lower half of his body, when the attendant arrived.

The attendant, who rides horses, refused the massage and continued. A friend of the attendant said that she was not going to perform sexual favors for money or gifts.

In an interview with Insider, the friend described the allegations made by the attendant. She spoke on the condition of anonymity because of her fear of personal safety, but Insider is aware of her identity. Insider is aware of the identity of the flight attendant, but is not naming her because she has claimed to be a victim of sexual misconduct. She wouldn't comment on the story.

The friend said that he whipped out his penis and propositioned her. He tried to bribe her to have sex with him.

"Punished for refusing to prostitute herself"

The friend said that the attendant told her about the behavior on the hike. The friend said that the attendant was distraught and was not sure what to do.

The flight attendant told her friend that work began to dry up after she refused Musk's advances.

She was starting to feel like she was being retaliated against because her shifts were cut back.

The attendant felt that she was being pushed out and punished for refusing to prostitution.

The living room inside the Gulfstream G650ER.
The living room inside a Gulfstream G650ER like the one used by Musk.
Courtesy of Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation

Massages on demand

In-house massage therapists are a perk for executives at the company. The flight attendant was encouraged by her superiors to purchase her own professional massage training for her sessions with Musk.

She was encouraged to get a license as a masseuse, but only on her own time, according to a friend. I thought it was odd that you weren't hired to be a masseuse. You were hired to work as a flight attendant. If he likes massages, then he should pay for you to attend masseuse school. She was so excited to have the job and be able to travel.

A $250,000 severance payment

After becoming convinced that her refusal to accept Musk's proposal had diminished her opportunities at SpaceX, the attendant hired a California employment lawyer and sent a complaint to the company's human resources department. The friend was contacted by the attorney's firm and asked to prepare a declaration corroborating the claims.

Musk personally attended a mediation session that resolved the attendant's complaint. The matter never made it to a court of law. In November of last year, Musk, SpaceX and the flight attendant entered into a severance agreement in which the flight attendant received a $250,000 payment in exchange for a promise not to file a lawsuit.

The agreement included non-disclosure and non-disparagement clauses that prevented the attendant from talking about the severance payment or Musk's businesses.

Musk believes that free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy and that sunlight is the best disinfectant.

A request for comment was not responded to.

"When you choose to remain silent, you become part of that system"

As a survivor of sexual assault, the friend decided to come forward without consulting the flight attendant. Her friend is not bound by a non-disclosure agreement.

She said that she felt a responsibility to come forward. Someone with that level of power causing harm and throwing money at the situation is not accountable. There are animals all over the world. When someone is particularly wealthy and powerful, they have systems that are like machines that can set them up to be able to do whatever they want.

She said that if she remained silent, she would become a part of the system.

Non-disclosure agreements are important parts of that machine. The friend said that she called the attorney who represented the victim before contacting Insider. She was told by her attorney that she could not speak to the press and that she could endanger the flight attendant.

The friend said that her primary concern was her client. She recalled the attorney saying confidentiality provisions arebullshit and that if any other women have been harmed by Musk, they should come forward. The attorney told the friend not to give the declaration to her client.

California, where the company is based, no longer allows companies to require non-disclosure clauses in agreements like the one the attendant signed. Her settlement was just months after. The Stand Against Non-Disclosure Act was signed into law by Jerry Brown and bars the use of non-disclosure agreements in settlements of sexual harassment, discrimination, or assault.

The attorney didn't reply to questions.

The friend of the attendant told Insider that if there was a way for her to come forward without putting herself at risk, she would. I hope she feels I said the things she didn't feel safe to say.

"I would like for the truth to be revealed"

This is the only known allegation and settlement related to Musk.

Two of his companies have been accused of sexual harassment. Four women who worked at SpaceX spoke out about sexual harassment they said they faced at the company, where Musk is the CEO, just a week after he was named Time's Person of the Year. Kosak wrote an essay about being groped and touched by male employees while she was an intern. One of the three people who said they were bound by a non-disclosure agreement recounted similar treatment to the New York Times.

In response to the reports, the president and COO of the company sent a company-wide email saying that timeliness reporting of harassment is key to keeping the company a great place to work. She said that the company will thoroughly investigate all harassment claims and take appropriate action when it is found that the policy has been violated.

At least six women have sued Musk and his company, accusing them of sexual harassment. Some women at the factory wore baggy outfits and used stacks of boxes to block the view of their co-workers because the men at the factory were fond of them. The women said they were retaliated against when they came forward.

If anyone else was mistreated by Musk, the friend hopes they will tell their story. If there are more victims, she would like them to come forward. I want the truth to be revealed.

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