I am unsurprised by the allegations against Elon Musk


If you haven’t seen the news in the last few days, I’ll fill you in: Elon Musk has been accused of sexual harassment.

The flight attendant told her friend that the billionaire SpaceX and Tesla founder asked her to come to his room during a flight in late 2016 “for a full body massage,” the declaration says. When she arrived, the attendant found that Musk “was completely naked except for a sheet covering the lower half of his body.” During the massage, the declaration says, Musk “exposed his genitals” and then “touched her and offered to buy her a horse if she would ‘do more,’ referring to the performance of sex acts.”

The offer to buy her a horse is an unusual detail, but apparently the flight attendant rode horses when she wasn’t working. It’s not as if Musk buys horses for every woman he propositions.

Of course, denies everything.

“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,” the Tesla and SpaceX CEO tweeted early Friday morning.

Now that raises another question: does he even have any distinguishing scars or tattoos that someone would notice? It’s a mark of vanity that he would think his nethers are so distinctive that anyone would recognize him.

But OK, it really is a she said, he said sort of situation. So far, it’s just an accusation, and I’m not seeing the evidence. Except there is one thing that I’d like to see him explain away: the payout.

In 2018, 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 detailing the episode. Around that time, the attorney’s firm contacted the friend and asked her to prepare the declaration corroborating the claims.

The attendant’s complaint was resolved quickly after a session with a mediator that Musk personally attended. The matter never reached a court of law or an arbitration proceeding. In November 2018, Musk, SpaceX and the flight attendant entered into a severance agreement granting the attendant a $250,000 payment in exchange for a promise not to sue over the claims.

The agreement also included restrictive non-disclosure and non-disparagement clauses that bar the attendant from ever discussing the severance payment or disclosing any information of any kind about Musk and his businesses, including SpaceX and Tesla.

Wait wait wait. She was concerned that her refusal to accommodate Musk’s sexual demands was going to affect her prospects in the company, and her complaint was very quickly addressed in a meeting with lawyers and the billionaire president of the company by cutting a quarter million dollar check? This is bizarre and damning. He folded fast and handed out an awful lot of money for ‘just an accusation’. Is this routine policy at SpaceX?

It also means there has to be a record somewhere of a payout by SpaceX and a bank deposit by the accuser. Let’s see the evidence.

Although there is also the troubling fact that Free Speech Warrior Musk made the flight attendant sign an NDA. How about waiving that, Mr Musk, and letting freedom ring?

Another argument Musk makes in his defense is that this is the only accusation made, and that his record is clean, which is a point in his favor. However, I wonder what effect his ability to drop $250,000 (or a horse!) on an accuser to silence them with legal shackles plays on that absence. Will success in breaking that NDA lead to a new collection of accusers to step forward? That’s what happened with #MeToo, you know.

Comments

  1. says

    Right…he pays out a pretty sizeable sum, and requires the payee to sign an NDA, but he also insists his record is “clean.” A typical half-assed lie by yet another plutocrat with enough money to shield himself from accountability. Anyone else who said “my record is still clean” after admitting de-facto to something unclean would be laughed out of court.

  2. PaulBC says

    I agree. Except for “I’ll buy you a horsie!” the rest is garden variety sexual harassment.

  3. PaulBC says

    me@2 Sorry I was blanking on the term. It would be more appropriate to say sexual assault. Anyway, indecent exposure. But again unsurprising.

  4. Reginald Selkirk says

    He folded fast and handed out an awful lot of money…

    Not a lot to him.

  5. Akira MacKenzie says

    True to his recently announced “political realignment,” Musk is claiming his accuser is a “far-left” actress with “a major political axe to grind.”

  6. StevoR says

    The powerful and wealthy always think they can get away with anything.

    “Because I’m famous I can get away with it.” Ring any bells?

    Sometimes they are wrong.

    Not often enough, nowhere near, but still more and more often.

    Let’s work to make it almost always that they don’t. Make it more and more and more often that they do NOT just get away with it. Please.

  7. says

    So not surprised. I can’t figure out what Grimes saw in the guy. The man is the exact definition of a 21st century charlatan. He built his empire off of inherited money and the engineers who actually designed his precious Teslas. Rich people don’t need luck because they can just buy it.

  8. Akira MacKenzie says

    @ 8

    I can’t figure out what Grimes saw in the guy.

    Ummm… She’s a flake?

  9. mamba says

    To play devil’s advocate, if he DOES have something distinctive like a scar or something blatantly obvious and he happens to be telling the truth, this is a very good simple challenge to her, and honestly quite respectable. I don’t know if he does…do you? Ever see him topless? me neither, so a good challenge.

    Of course if he DOESN’T have any marks then all she has to say is “looked like a plain back to me” and it’s up to HIM to then say ‘Look, there’s my huge blotchy birthmark under the shoulder blade” or whatever he has. If it’s plain then her story gets MORE credibility, right? He has to know this, so it’s a pretty good move in my opinion.

    After all, I personally have a scar on my back that’s blatantly obvious to anyone (mole removal years ago) and if someone were to claim not to have noticed it during a massage they’d be called insane by anyone with eyes and a brain. Who knows, maybe Elon’s got a distinctive mark? One she’d have to have seen? I don’t know, but him removing his shirt after a week for her to respond and showing one would destroy her credibility you have to admit.

    So don’t dismiss it so easily, it MIGHT actually just be a simple way to squash a liar before it even starts.

  10. elvishpiratefish says

    Also playing devil’s advocate; Considering the cost of lawyers and going to court, $250,000 to make something go away, even if you know your innocent is win. I mean, that is the whole reason companies/wealthy people settle all their problems rather than go to court, its cheaper to give a small payout and not admit culpability then spend months and millions to go to court.

  11. Reginald Selkirk says

    @12 mamba: Ever see him topless? me neither, so a good challenge.

    That has fuqall to do with a claim that he exposed his genitals.

  12. PaulBC says

    mamba@12 Cutting a quarter million dollar check isn’t “squashing” anything. If it was really that easy to extort money from Elon Musk with nothing behind it at all, then there’d be a line out the door waiting for payoffs. So while there may not be evidence that would hold up in court, common sense says that there is more to it than Elon Musk just wanting to quiet down a false accusation.

  13. bcw bcw says

    Fun Elon facts:
    1. He did not found Tesla. Telsa was founded by two engineers who had made money building one the early e-books (rocketbook) who wanted to bring lithium batteries to electric cars. Musk came in later with money and then later forced out the two founders. There was a settlement with a nondisclosure term.
    2. While he paid $14B in taxes one year when he sold stock, his average tax rate has been about 3%.
    3. The agreement he signed with twitter waives due-diligence rights and he is on the hook for $1B if he backs out. The SEC could go after him for his statements shifting the twitter stock value if he tries to alter the deal.

  14. PaulBC says

    bcw bcw@15 He did write and publish the source code to Blastar. I am still kind of jealous. By then, I had already written several games for the TRS-80 Model I. I wrote them in Z80 assembly language and they were pretty good, but unfortunately they never had any market traction (the machine was on the way out by the time I was done). I guess that’s why Musk is a multi-billionaire and I’m just a working schlub.

  15. specialffrog says

    He divorced his first wife because she wouldn’t accept his alpha status or some such nonsense. And he has spouted MRA nonsense on Twitter.

    So also unsurprised.

  16. says

    Hopefully continued relevations/reminders of Musk’s past bogosity will drive it down even further, and never let it get back up.

  17. PaulBC says

    Susan Montgomery@19 That would be William Barden, Jr. at least the assembly language part. I learned BASIC from the owner’s manual and I don’t know the author. Yeah, they used to be a lot more informative back then.

    It may surprise some of you whippersnappers that electronic computers have existed since before 1950. Higher level languages? Fortran came out in 1954 and Lisp in 1958! (I just checked the dates, but I had a rough idea.) Fun fact: I actually grew up within spitting distance of Univac in the Philly suburbs. That was back when computers were more of a scary Cold War phenom than “your plastic pal who’s fun to be with.”

  18. Howard Brazee says

    We already know that he’s a self-centered lying asshole. But he’s got two real nice toys!

    We expect him to act in private the way he does in public. Maybe she was lying. But he has set himself up to be disbelieved.

  19. PaulBC says

    There was the whole “Elon Musk is Tony Stark” mythos. Maybe he’s just trying to live up to the same level of misogyny. He can accomplish that easily, but it won’t turn him into Robert Downey, Jr.

  20. rorschach says

    He owns half the planet, 100 billion lalala, although he is currently losing a few of those billions in the Tesla meltdown. You don’t think he can do whatever he likes and if it oops goes wrong just casually buy a 250.000.- NDA? Think again.

  21. Susan Montgomery says

    @23 I tease. I remember being super impressed by the lone TRS I saw back in 2nd grade ;)

  22. laurian says

    Why don’t these guys ask/get consent before wagging their junk around. What is so hard about asking, ‘I want to show you my penis. Are you OK with that?” It almost as if these guys think there is something so repulsive about their genitals that should they share them openly and respectfully with potential partners they will be rejected.

    And that’s sad

  23. PaulBC says

    With his money, he could try a classier pickup line like “What’s your name? Who’s your daddy? Is he rich like me?”

    Well, OK, that’s not very classy, but it beats “Hey little girl, I’ll buy you a pony if you touch me there.”

    (No real point here, except I remember I always liked the melody of the Zombies Time of the Season when I first heard it as a very little kid and it was not till recently that I noticed the words or the creepy breathing. Thanks YouTube!)

  24. Susan Montgomery says

    @30. This about exercising power over others. Musk has more than enough cash that finding partners to play with Mr. Wiggly wouldn’t be a problem if that’s all he wanted. It’s an act of dominance – and a base, visceral sort at that – with these people.

  25. PaulBC says

    Susan Montgomery@32 I agree with that. He could buy more consensual sex than he would know what to do with if that was the point, legally in some places.

  26. ORigel says

    @34 He doesn’t need to pay a sex worker. Plenty of people would be willing to have sex with a rich, famous, and good-looking man.

  27. PaulBC says

    ORigel@35 No argument here. See me@32. He could recite the Zombies lyrics verbatim and have a shockingly high success rate.

    (Aside from the “good looking” part. Musk strikes me as average looking with some disturbing facial expressions and signs of creeping middle age but chacun à son goût.)

    I am sure that if you’re rich and “powerful” the infuriating part is the rare instance when you don’t get what you want.

  28. Reginald Selkirk says

    @16: Fun Elon facts:
    1. He did not found Tesla. Telsa was founded by two engineers who had made money building one the early e-books (rocketbook) who wanted to bring lithium batteries to electric cars. Musk came in later with money and then later forced out the two founders. There was a settlement with a nondisclosure term…

    Since the lawsuit, he gets to call himself a founder.
    Elon Musk Wanted to Be Tesla’s Co-Founder so Badly That It Took a Lawsuit to Make It Legal on Paper

  29. wajim says

    chacun à son goût, eh? (French-Australian for “Hmm . . . what?). So perhaps we can euphimise that word we appropriated from the French to “Not Surprised”? or “Excuse me”? Bad French joke (and there are many), but I hope my drift is clear. I want to say in my very limited French “certains pires que d’autres,” eh?

  30. microraptor says

    As part of his commitment to free speech, he’s going to let all the people who signed NDAs talk without fear of reprisal, right? Wouldn’t want people thinking he’s a lying hypocrite or anything, right?

  31. Akira MacKenzie says

    I’m surprised the Musk stans haven’t descended upon this post to defend their idol and ridicule us as woke leftists whom Elon is going to kick in the balls. On FB, The Onion posted a piece on this very issue and the Musk/MAGA worshippers are in full force in the comments.

  32. says

    He dared her to prove her case by describing his privates. Doesn’t that mean he has asked her to abandon the NDA?

  33. John Morales says

    markmckee, a very pertinent observation.

    He dared her to prove her case by describing his privates. Doesn’t that mean he has asked her to abandon the NDA?

    Not technically.
    It means he’s putting her in the invidious position of either breaching the NDA or failing to address his dare, showing some sort of lack of committal to sustaining the claim.

    In short, it’s putting an unwarranted onus upon her without actually asking for anything.

  34. unclefrogy says

    He could have a f’n harem if he wanted except for 2 things he wants to look kind of regular and normal. and his current wife might not like it.. he is by all accounts a domineering a’ hole in most things besides being a pompous arrogant fool
    may he loose a fortune with twitter

  35. jo1storm says

    Speaking of twitter, there is a whole thread about Musk, written by E.W. Niedermeyer, who played the role of Cassandra about Musk years ago.

    https://twitter.com/Tweetermeyer/status/1527658198252957696

    The book is called ” Ludicrous”, Edward Niedermeyer and is about Tesla Motors but touches upon Musk’s way of doing things.

    To quote a tweet in that thread.

    “To wrap up: HAPPY HUNTING CELEBRITY JOURNALISTS! This is the moment for you to prove that what you do is as important to society as any business or political journalism. Musk’s personal life is a cockroach-rich environment, and your stories will have impact that mine never did.”

  36. Silentbob says

    <nerd>

    @ 27 PaulBC

    There was the whole “Elon Musk is Tony Stark” mythos. Maybe he’s just trying to live up to the same level of misogyny. He can accomplish that easily, but it won’t turn him into Robert Downey, Jr.

    One of my favourite things in Iron Man 2 is where Elon does a cameo and Tony Stark brushes him off like just another groupie. :-)

    </nerd>

  37. ardipithecus says

    Re the Iron Man mythos – I wish he would put on an iron suit and launch himself a few thousand feet into the air.

  38. James Fehlinger says

    Since when are full body massages part of a flight attendant’s job?

    Since when does Elon Musk’s mode of air travel have anything in
    common (other than the laws of physics) with the operations of
    a commercial airline?

    You think the people in the orbit of someone like that have
    anything in common with ordinary service workers? Are his
    chauffeurs just taxicab drivers?

    They’re all glorified Personal Assistants. Think of
    The Late Artist Formerly Known As Prince (or the
    monarch currently known as Her Majesty The Queen).
    You don’t look them directly in the eyes, and you
    don’t speak unless spoken to.

  39. lotharloo says

    I have seen a lot of anit-Musk material and videos but so far I actually think that thunderfoot’s last video is pretty good: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xD0r34nEiWA
    Thunderfoot is big shithead when it comes to feminism or having a basic understanding of social justice, but here he is in his element.

  40. PaulBC says

    James Fehlinger@48 Why not just make the sex work part of the job description, disclosed and with consent from the beginning? I am not completely sure of the legal issues but it seems doable if that’s the “lifestyle” you want.

    I agree with previous comments that the whole point is for Musk to be able to assert his “power” as he pleases, so it’s no fun if it’s in the contract.

  41. logicalcat says

    @50

    He thought he had her consent when he asked “wanna come over to give me a full body massage?” and she said yes.

  42. Matthew Currie says

    Regarding Post 20, Hammurabi? No, surely not, it was Hamurabi with only one M because the real name has nine characters.
    I never programmed, but I remember typing the BASIC version of that in. I always presumed it a little simplistic, but it seems strangely familiar in those fruitless internet arguments with Burke-spouting neo-utilitarians, The Tragedy of the Commons their gospel, convinced you have to starve a minority or two or game over.

  43. says

    Also playing devil’s advocate; Considering the cost of lawyers and going to court, $250,000 to make something go away, even if you know your innocent is win.

    Bullshit. First, paying off FALSE accusers so easily only means more false accusers looking for a quick buck. And second, if someone were to falsely accuse me of any serious crime or other action that would damage my reputation, I would fight it if I could, just to establish that I’m innocent AND I fight for my reputation. The only reason I’d have to settle, would be lack of funds for a full legal fight; and Muck clearly never had that limitation. I don’t know Elon Muck, so I have no proof that he thinks like me on this; but we all know he’s willing to fight and stab backs to get what he wants, so it’s kinda silly to think he’d just meekly roll over and pay off someone who’s accusing him of gross misconduct — unless he knew the charges weren’t really false.

  44. logicalcat says

    @49

    It sucks that Thunderfoot is the best guy for legit criticism against Musks bullshit but yea great video.

  45. silvrhalide says

    It’s entirely possible that Elon Schmuck will have less money going forward. And may not have Twitter either.
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2022/05/20/tesla-stock-price-plummeting/?utm_campaign=wp_post_most&utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter&wpisrc=nl_most&carta-url=https%3A%2F%2Fs2.washingtonpost.com%2Fcar-ln-tr%2F36e5aa0%2F628909f8956121755a881339%2F597776a69bbc0f6826c3fa0d%2F31%2F70%2F628909f8956121755a881339

    If we’re all really lucky, the impending recession will wipe out a lot more of his accumulated wealth. Hopefully killing the market for NFTs as well.

  46. PaulBC says

    silvrhalide@56 I know it’s selfish of me, but if the “impending recession” wipes out my retirement I won’t be such a happy camper either. TBH, I am more worried about the impending fascist takeover of the US than a recession.

  47. silvrhalide says

    @57 I take no joy in seeing all the people the probable/impending recession will hurt. If it’s any consolation, your retirement will likely be wiped out by 8.5% inflation long before the recession kills it. FWIW, I’ve been terrified to look at my TSP this entire week, if that’s any consolation to you. The stock market has really taken a beating. But I’m a silver-lining kind of person–hopeful that the likely recession will also wipe out the yen for NFT and crypto as well as a lot of accumulated wealth for techbro assholes.

    Remember when Iceland imploded financially during the housing bubble burst in 2008? (Ballpark, it more or less lasted through 2010.) All accumulated wealth was reduced to pennies on the dollar. All accumulated debt was reduced to pennies on the dollar. Kind of like a fire sale without the massive hack. The good news is that Iceland is more or less back to normal, if with slightly worse credit and the first thing they did in the elections immediately following the financial collapse was get rid of all the dimwit pale male fratbros holding office.

    The impending fascist takeover won’t happen until 2024. We could starve to death in 2022. The early planting season and early harvest has been an absolute shitshow, what with all the weather extremes, including tornadoes, unseasonable snowstorms/icestorms. $12 for a dozen eggs is going to seem like a happy memory in the not too distant future. Avian flu is devastating the poultry business and drought is going to play hell not only with the fruit & vegetable harvest but also with the feedstock for livestock. Remember a few years back when there was a massive cull of most the US herds, mostly in the Southwest? Would not be at all surprised to see something similar this year. In Texas alone, you could not buy hay for love or money at that time and a lot of livestock was dying off because even with hay and water, extended 120°+ weather for over 2 months kills a lot of livestock through heatstroke alone.

    Don’t forget that the US is still the breadbasket to the world. California alone is something like the world’s tenth largest economy and it’s currently in a major drought, which given that it supplies something like 40% of the US’s fruits and vegetables, is going to be an issue. And Ukraine, which is a major supplier of wheat, is down for the count. So the rest of the planet is even more screwed than we are.

    Things to look forward to. :(

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