It Sure Sounds Like Elon Musk Decided to Become a Republican After Finding Out a Story About Him Allegedly Exposing Himself to a Flight Attendant Was Going Public
Earlier this week, Elon Musk took to Twitter to make a series of announcements. “Political attacks on me will escalate dramatically in coming months,” he wrote early Wednesday afternoon. Later, he informed his followers: “In the past I voted Democrat, because they were (mostly) the kindness party. But they have become the party of division & hate, so I can no longer support them and will vote Republican. Now, watch their dirty tricks campaign against me unfold …” A few hours after that, he tweeted emoji of a face with a tongue hanging out and a box of popcorn, i.e., the international symbol for “sitting back and waiting for drama.”
Viewed in isolation, these tweets didn’t seem that odd—Musk has been bashing liberals for some time now, and it’s not at all surprising that a known troll would try to preemptively claim that any attacks against him were coming from his political enemies. But now, with the benefit of context, they make even more sense, and make the richest man in the world look like a massive creep.
That context came on Thursday night when Insider published a story reporting that SpaceX, the company founded by Musk in 2002, paid a flight attendant $250,000 in 2018 to settle a sexual-misconduct claim against him. According to reporter Rich McHugh, the attendant, who worked as part of the flight crew for SpaceX’s corporate jet fleet, had 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.” (The incident allegedly took place in 2016.) In addition to viewing relevant documents, Insider also spoke to a friend of the woman, who signed a declaration corroborating the incident. The flight attendant reportedly told her friend that during a flight to London, Musk asked her to come to his room and perform “a full-body massage.” Once there, the woman said, she found Musk “completely naked except for a sheet covering the lower half of his body,” adding that he “exposed his genitals” during the massage and then “touched her and offered to buy her a horse if she would ‘do more,’” i.e., sexual acts. The friend told Insider that the flight attendant was “really upset” and “didn’t know what to do” after she relayed what had happened.
Per the declaration, the woman “started to feel as if she was receiving some sort of retaliation where her shifts were cut back,” eventually thinking that she was “being pushed out and punished for refusing to prostitute herself.” In 2018, believing her rebuff of Musk had left her with fewer opportunities at SpaceX, she hired an employment lawyer; according to Insider, the complaint “was resolved quickly after a session with a mediator that Musk personally attended,” and in November of 2018, the flight attendant and the company “entered into a severance agreement granting the attendant a $250,000 payment in exchange for a promise not to sue over the claims.” Featured in the agreement were “restrictive nondisclosure and non-disparagement clauses that bar [her] from ever discussing the severance payment or disclosing any information of any kind about Musk and his businesses, including SpaceX and Tesla.”
Being a sexual assault survivor, the friend felt it was important to share what she knew about Musk and decided to reveal the story without consulting the flight attendant, according to Insider. (The friend, unlike the flight attendant, is not bound by an NDA.) “I absolutely felt a responsibility to come forward with it, especially now,” she told McHugh. “He is the richest man in the world. Someone with that level of power causing that kind of harm and then throwing some money at the situation, that’s not accountability. There are predators all over the world. But when someone is particularly wealthy and powerful, they literally have systems that are like a machine working for them, to set them up to be able to do whatever they want.” She added that she believed staying silent would make her complicit. “When you choose to remain silent, yeah, you do become a part of that system,” she said. “You do become a part of that machine that allows someone like Elon Musk to continue to do the horrible things that he’s done.”
Contacted by Insider about the report, Musk asked for additional time to respond and claimed there was “a lot more to this story.” He added, in what most people would probably agree is a bizarre way to deny sexual-misconduct allegations: “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 also insisted that the story was a “politically motivated hit piece.“ Within hours of Insider reaching out to him for comment, per Insider investigations editor John Cook, Musk was tweeting about becoming a Republican and claiming that his decision to do so would result in “dirty tricks” from the left. All of which must have just been extremely, extremely coincidental timing!