Elon Musk, chief executive of Tesla Inc., has condemned in a news report a “completely untrue” claim that he sexually harassed a flight attendant on a private jet in 2016.
Shares of the electric car maker skidded more than 10% on Friday amid concerns that the alleged sexual misconduct and Mask’s political remarks could threaten Tesla’s brand and sales.
Business Insider reported on Thursday that Musk’s private company SpaceX paid $ 250,000 in 2018 to settle a sexual harassment claim from an unnamed private jet flight attendant who accused Musk of revealing himself to her.
The article quoted an anonymous person as saying he was a friend of the flight attendant. According to the article, the friend provided a statement as part of the personal settlement process.
“I have a challenge for these liars who claim that their friends have seen me ‘exposed’ – just describe one thing, anything (spots, tattoos,…) that is not known to the public.” He will not be able to do that, because it never happened, “Mask wrote on Twitter late Thursday.
Reuters Business Insider could not verify the account.
Mask and SpaceX did not respond to a Reuters request for comment on Business Insider’s story or the billionaire’s tweets.
In a statement to Reuters on Friday, Business Insider said: “We stand by our story which is based on documents and interviews and which speaks for itself.”
Guidehouse Insights analyst Sam Abulsamid claims sexual misconduct “has the potential to turn people off from a PR perspective.”
Friday’s stock drop cut Tesla’s market value by about $ 66 billion, putting the stock at its lowest level since last August.
Shares have plummeted since early April as Twitter’s buy-in mask mask raised concerns about scattering and China’s coveted lockdown system hurt Tesla’s production.
Ross Garber, CEO of Tesla Investor Garbar Kawasaki Wealth Management, said he was concerned that Tesla was a single person, relying so much on masks, but believed that his generous clients would continue to buy masks, even if they did not like what they said. Tesla’s mission is clear.
Business Insider quoted the flight attendant’s friend as saying that in addition to allegedly revealing himself, the mask rubbed the flight attendant’s thigh and offered to buy him a horse if he did “more” during an in-flight massage.
According to Business Insider, the flight attendant believed that his refusal to accept Musk’s offer harmed his chances of working at SpaceX and persuaded him to hire a lawyer in 2018.
In 2018, the rocket company paid $ 250,000 in exchange for a promise not to sue the claimant and included an undisclosed agreement that prevented the flight attendant from talking about it, Business Insider reported. The news site did not name a friend or flight attendant.
Musk, who is in the midst of a controversial attempt to buy Twitter Inc., said Wednesday that he would vote for Republicans instead of Democrats, predicting that “dirty tactics against me” would follow.
On Thursday evening, Musk first tweeted: “Attacks against me should be viewed through a political lens – this is their ideal (hate) playbook – but nothing will stop me from fighting for a better future and your right to freedom of speech.”
In an initial tweet, he did not specifically mention the allegations in the Business Insider article.
He further tweeted that the article was intended to interfere with Twitter’s acquisition. (Reporting by Hyunju Jean and Joey Roulette, additional reports by Ross Keber, Noel Randewich; Dieting by Frances Carey, Bill Barcrott and Daniel Wallis)