A top executive at rocket maker SpaceX said she “personally” believed the sexual harassment allegations against Elon Musk, the company’s founder and CEO, were false, according to a company-wide email obtained by The New York. Times.
In the email, which was sent Friday, Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX’s president and chief operating officer, said she had worked closely with Musk for 20 years and had “never seen or heard anything like these allegations.” She added: “Anyone who knows Elon like I do knows that he would never drive or tolerate this alleged inappropriate behavior.”
Ms Shotwell was referring to an Insider article last week that said Mr Musk approached a flight attendant for a sexual massage during a flight to London in 2016. He also exposed himself to the flight attendant and offered her a horse, according to the article, details of which were not independently verified by The New York Times.
The unidentified woman hired an employment attorney in 2018 and filed a complaint with SpaceX’s human resources department, according to Insider. SpaceX settled later that year, paying the woman $250,000 in exchange for a promise not to sue over the claims.
Musk said last week on Twitter that the allegations were “completely false.”
A SpaceX spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment on Ms Shotwell’s email, which was previously reported by CNBC. Two people who saw the memo shared it with The Times.
Read Ms. Shotwell’s email to employees below:
I want to directly address the story that mentions our company and CEO with serious accusations. Let me be clear: SpaceX does not tolerate harassment of any kind. I am saying ZERO tolerance. We firmly believe that everyone at SpaceX deserves to be treated with respect. And any accusation of harassment is taken very seriously, independently of who is involved. HR thoroughly investigates all complaints brought to its attention and takes appropriate disciplinary action. If you have any questions or concerns about this policy or our workplace, please contact me, your manager, or your human resources representative.
Admittedly, this is a difficult topic to navigate. It’s natural to have questions and want a definitive answer. For privacy reasons, I will never comment on legal matters involving employment issues. What I can share, however, is that Elon made a public statement via Twitter that the allegations are completely false. Personally, I think the accusations are false; not because I work for Elon, but because I have worked closely with him for 20 years and have never seen or heard anything like these accusations. Anyone who knows Elon like I do knows that he would never drive or condone this alleged inappropriate behavior.
I think SpaceX is an amazing place to work because of you. And I remain committed to ensuring that it is a place where all employees can do their best work.