Billionaire businessman Elon Musk has denied claims he sexually harassed a flight attendant on a private jet in 2016, calling them “wild accusations”.
It comes as Business Insider reported on Thursday Mr Musk‘s SpaceX paid $250,000 (£200,000) in 2018 to settle a sexual harassment claim from an unnamed private jet attendant who accused the Tesla founder of exposing himself to her.
The article quoted an anonymous friend of the flight attendant. The friend said she had provided a statement as part of a private settlement process.
“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,” Mr Musk tweeted.
He added that the claims were “utterly untrue”.
Sky News has not been able to verify the claims made in the original article. Mr Musk and SpaceX have not responded to a request for comment.
According to Business Insider, Mr Musk allegedy rubbed the flight attendant’s thigh and offered to buy her a horse if she would “do more” during the in-flight massage.
The flight attendant believed her refusal to accept the proposition hurt her opportunities to work at SpaceX and after her work dried up, she hired an employment lawyer, her friend said.
The rocket company made the settlement out of court and included a non-disclosure agreement which prevented the flight attendant from speaking about it, Business Insider said.
In the Business Insider article, Musk was quoted as saying the flight attendant’s story was a “politically motivated hit piece” and that there was “a lot more to this story”.
Business Insider did not appear to speak to the woman directly but said it was “aware of the flight victim’s identity”.
On Thursday evening, Musk first tweeted: “The attacks against me should be viewed through a political lens – this is their standard (despicable) playbook – but nothing will deter me from fighting for a good future and your right to free speech.”
He also tweeted that the article was meant to interfere with his Twitter acquisition.