SpaceX President and COO Gwynne Shotwell defended Elon Musk following sexual misconduct claims.
But Shotwell dodged addressing SpaceX's own involvement. It is alleged to have paid the accuser $250,000.
In the message she said didn't believe the allegations against Musk, which Insider first reported.
SpaceX President and COO Gwynne Shotwell responded to Insider's report that the company paid a SpaceX flight attendant $250,000 in 2018 after she alleged Musk exposed himself and propositioned her for sex.
However, Shotwell declined to address the details of the company's settlement with the accuser, citing company policy. Her response came in a Friday email to employees obtained by Insider.
In the message Shotwell avoided mentioning SpaceX's response to the claim, which Rich McHugh's article said came in the form of a $250,000 settlement agreement with the woman.
Shotwell also avoided mentioning any details of the incident itself, alleged to have taken place in 2016.
McHugh reported for Insider that a flight attendant alleged that Musk exposed his erect penis to her, seeking an erotic massage. McHugh said the woman was in 2018 paid $250,000 for a promise not to sue.
Shotwell said she could not comment on SpaceX's alleged involvement, citing "privacy reasons" and company policy.
Instead, Shotwell referred to tweets by Musk that the claim was untrue and said she believed him.
"Personally, I believe the allegations to be false; not because I work for Elon, but because I have worked closely with him for 20 years and never seen nor heard anything resembling these allegations," she wrote.
"Anyone who knows Elon like I do, knows he would never conduct or condone this alleged inappropriate behavior."
A screengrab of the full message was also shared by New York Times reporter Ryan Mac.
—Ryan Mac 🙃 (@RMac18) May 23, 2022
Musk denied the sexual misconduct allegations to Insider last week, saying there is "a lot more to this story," which he called a "politically motivated hit piece."
"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," he wrote.
Neither Musk nor SpaceX's legal department denied that the company gave the flight attendant a $250,000 severance payment.
SpaceX did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment regarding Shotwell's email.
A friend of the flight attendant told Insider that Musk asked her to come to his room during a late 2016 flight for a "full body massage." When she arrived, the flight attendant discovered that Musk was "completely naked except for a sheet covering the lower half of his body." According to a declaration signed by her friend in support of the flight attendant's claim and shared with Insider, the flight attendant said Musk "exposed his genitals" and then touched her and "offered to buy her a horse if she would 'do more.'"
The attendant declined and continued with the massage, according to the declaration. The flight attendant told her friend that her work opportunities began to decline after she refused Musk's advances. In 2018, the attendant hired an employment lawyer and sent a complaint to SpaceX's human resources department explaining the incident.
The company quickly resolved the complaint following a mediation session that Musk personally attended and agreed to the $250,000 payment in exchange for a promise from the attendant that she not sue over the claims, according to Insider's earlier reported story.
Female SpaceX employees have also complained in the past about a culture of sexual harassment at the company. In December, former SpaceX engineer Ashley Kosak wrote that she had had to "bring multiple different incidents of sexism to HR," though it is unclear if Musk was at all involved in or aware of Kosak's claims.
Read the original article on Business Insider