Watch CBS News

Elon Musk calls sexual misconduct allegations "utterly untrue" and "wild"

Musk says he would reverse Twitter's Trump ban
Elon Musk says he would reverse Twitter's ban on Donald Trump 04:13

Elon Musk rejected allegations Thursday that he groped and exposed himself to a flight attendant six years ago.

"Those wild accusations are utterly untrue," the world's wealthiest person posted on Twitter, the platform he is currently in the stalled process of buying for $44 billion.

News outlet Business Insider reported earlier in the day that Musk's rocket company SpaceX paid a woman $250,000 in 2018 to settle a misconduct claim against him.

Business Insider says the woman was a cabin crew member on a contract basis for SpaceX's corporate jet fleet.

The report said Musk, who was receiving a massage from the woman during a flight on a private jet to London, exposed his erect penis to her, touched her leg without consent, and asked her to perform a sex act.

It cited a woman who said she was a friend of the flight attendant.

Business Insider says that when it asked Musk to respond to the allegations, he emailed a reply asking for more time to comment, adding that there was "a lot more to this story."

"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, and said the story was a "politically motivated hit piece."

Business Insider says it offered Musk more time to address the allegations but he didn't respond.

On Thursday, he tweeted that, "The attacks against me should be viewed through a political lens - this is their standard (despicable) playbook."

He didn't specify who "their" referred to, but added, "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 South Africa-born entrepreneur -- who holds U.S., Canadian and South African citizenship -- had earlier said he was switching his support from the Democratic Party to Republicans.

"Now, watch their dirty tricks campaign against me unfold ..." he added.

MoneyWatch: Is Elon Musk trolling Twitter over $44 billion deal? 04:00

Derailing the Twitter deal?

Musk also claimed that Business Insider tried to derail his planned acquisition of Twitter — a $44 billion deal that has upset many media players.

"[I]t was clear that their only goal was a hit price to interfere with the Twitter acquisition. The story was written before they even talked to me," Musk tweeted.

This week, Musk — whose estimated net worth is $265 billion — put his bid to buy Twitter on hold, saying it wouldn't proceed unless he got proof of the number of spam accounts plaguing the platform. Musk last month reached a deal with Twitter's board to take the social media company private, with the stated goal of restoring "free speech" on the platform and eliminating bots. But as stock markets have declined, Musk has backed away from the deal and said he suspects the number of bots on the platform is much higher than believed.

As well as his prolific tweeting, on-again-off-again relationship with pop star Grimes, vast wealth and SpaceX ventures, Musk is primarily known as the founder of electric vehicle company Tesla.

He has said he wants to make humans an "interplanetary species" by establishing a colony on Mars.

Musk has also made headlines of a less flattering kind: Tesla has faced a series of lawsuits alleging discrimination and harassment against Black workers, as well as sexual harassment.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.