Texas Governor Greg Abbott abruptly deleted a tweet offering his support for embattled Tesla boss Elon Musk, as the wealthiest man in the world faces emerging sexual misconduct allegations.
Business Insider reported on Thursday that SpaceX, Musk’s spacecraft engineering company, paid $250,000 in 2018 to settle claims by an unnamed private jet flight attendant, who accused Musk of exposing himself to her.
Musk was also reportedly accused of touching the woman without her consent and attempting to solicit sex.
Shortly after the report was published, Musk called the allegations ‘utterly untrue’ and said the alleged exposure ‘never happened.’
Musk also 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.’
Abbott retweeted Musk’s message from his personal account and wrote, ‘.@elonmusk picked the right state to move to.’
But then Abbott quickly deleted the Tweet just seven minutes later, according to The Dallas Morning News.
Abbott has previously lauded Musk’s decision to relocate Tesla from Palo Alto, California, to Austin, Texas, and welcomed Musk to the Lone Star State, a ‘land of opportunity and innovation.’
Abbott also said in a CNBC interview that he and Musk speak frequently and that Musk supports his state’s ‘social policies.’
It is unclear why the governor deleted his Tweet and whether it will have an impact on the pair’s alleged close relationship. DailyMail.com has reached out to Abbott’s office for comment.
This comes as Musk on Sunday also admitted that he has a ‘cheesy secret Instagram account’ he uses to ‘click on links friends send [him].’
After Business Insider reported on a SpaceX 2018 sexual misconduct settlement, the billionaire said the accusations against him should be viewed ‘through a political lens’ and were made by a ‘far left activist/actress with political ax to grind’ (FILE)
‘.@elonmusk picked the right state to move to,’ Abbott wrote from his personal account, seemingly in support of Musk, before quickly deleting the Tweet just seven minutes later
Abbott had previously lauded Tesla’s relocation from Palo Alto, California (pictured), to Austin, Texas, welcoming Musk to the Lone Star State, a ‘land of opportunity and innovation’
It comes as the Tesla boss admitted he has a ‘cheesy secret Instagram account’ he uses to ‘click on links friends send [him]’ after losing $10billion amid claims of sexual misconduct
Musk’s wealth fell from $212billion to $201, Bloomberg reported, after a source told Insider that the he paid $250,000 in severance to an unnamed private jet flight attendant who accused Musk of exposing himself to her
Denying Twitter users’ claims that he runs multiple accounts on the platform to improve the public’s perception of him, Musk said that while he doesn’t have a ‘burner’ Twitter account, he does have a secret Instagram.
‘Haha I don’t even have a burner twitter account! I do have a cheesy secret Instagram account, so I can click on links that friends send me,’ Musk tweeted.
Musk, 50, has seen his company’s share price tank 40 percent since April 4.
Amid the sexual harassment accusations, Tesla’s share price fell yet further on Friday to close 6.42 percent down and Bloomberg reported that Musk’s wealth fell from $212billion on May 15th to $201billion on May 22nd.
The company has been hit with supply chain issues, and is struggling to compensate for the lockdowns that continue in China, causing delays in essential components.
The Tesla boss, who is also in the process of buying Twitter for $44 billion, suggested the sexual harassment claims are additionally intended to hurt his efforts to acquire the social media company.
The Business Insider article detailing the allegations against Musk quoted an anonymous person who said she was a friend of the flight attendant, who accused Musk. The friend had provided a statement as part of a private settlement process, according to the article.
Throwing down the gauntlet to his accusers, Musk said: ‘But 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.’
Musk also denied responding to Insider’s request for a comment on its exclusive reporting – although the publication says this is false and points to a quote it insists that Musk supplied for the original piece pre-publication.
He denied that as well, saying: ‘No, it 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 has also since joked about the scandal on Twitter, writing: ‘Finally, we get to use Elongate as scandal name. It’s kinda perfect.
The flight attendant, who has not been named, also alleged the billionaire offered her gifts – including a horse – in exchange for an erotic massage.
Insider noted that the flight attendant rode horses as a hobby.
Elon Musk’s SpaceX allegedly paid $250,000 to one of the company’s corporate flight attendants, who accused the tech mogul of exposing himself to her and propositioning her for sex, according to a new report
Musk attacked the credibility of the alleged victim’s friend, tweeting that she ‘is a far left activist/actress in LA with a major political axe to grind,’ saying there is ‘a lot more to this story’ – which he called a ‘politically motivated hit piece’.
He later decried the journalist’s tactics on Twitter.
‘It was clear that their only goal was a hit price [sic] to interfere with the Twitter acquisition,’ he wrote. ‘The story was written before they even talked to me.’
SpaceX VP of Legal Christopher Cardaci told Insider: ‘I’m not going to comment on any settlement agreements.’
SpaceX employs in-house massages as a benefit for executives – and according to the declaration the flight attendant was encouraged to take massage classes by her supervisors.
Musk, 50, was also accused of rubbing her leg and offering gifts in exchange for an erotic massage
The 2016 incident is alleged in papers signed by a friend of the flight attendant, who handled a flight to London with Musk on board
A friend of the woman claimed the flight attendant told her Musk requested she come to his room to perform ‘a full body massage’ in late 2016.
Upon arrival, she allegedly found Musk ‘completely naked except for a sheet covering the lower half of his body.’
The declaration from the friend says that Musk ‘exposed his genitals,’ and touched the flight attendant.
He then, according to the declaration, ‘offered to buy her a horse’ if she would ‘do more,’ which she said she took to mean performing sex acts.
The attendant declined Musk’s offer but continued the massage, the friend said. But then ‘he whipped out his penis,’ the friend said.
‘It was erect,’ they added.
‘And he started propositioning her, like he touched her thigh and told her he would buy her a horse. And he basically tried to bribe her to perform some sort of sexual favor.’
Musk today tweeted that he ‘finally’ gets to use ‘Elongate as a scandal name’ amid the sexual assault allegations
The friend said that the flight attendant was ‘really upset’ and visibly shaken after the flight when they got together shortly after.
She added that, while the flight attendant looked up to Musk before the incident, afterwards she found it more difficult to get work, in addition to being ‘full of anxiety.’
‘She figured things could just go back to normal and she would pretend like nothing happened,’ the friend said. ‘However, she started to feel as if she was receiving some sort of retaliation where her shifts were cut back, and she was starting to feel really stressed.’
The declaration argues that she felt she was ‘being pushed out and punished for refusing to prostitute herself.’
The attendant hired an employment lawyer to file the complaint in 2018, which led to her friend being contacted to corroborate the claims.
Musk is said to have attended a session with a mediator and the attendant, hoping to resolve the situation quickly.
In November 2018, before making it to court, Musk, SpaceX and the attendant agreed to a severance payment of $250,000, it is claimed. It is also alleged the flight attendant was told to promise not sue.
The settlement included non-disclosure and non-disparagement agreements preventing the flight attendant for ever revealing any information regarding the settlement or anything about Musk and his business.
Those sorts of agreements were then banned in the state of California – just months after Musk’s settlement.
The flight attendant’s friend claims she is under no such agreements and felt an ‘obligation’ to tell the story as a survivor of sexual assault herself.
‘I absolutely felt a responsibility to come forward with it, especially now,’ she said. ‘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.’
‘When you choose to remain silent, yeah, you do become a part of that system,’ she added.
‘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.’
It’s not clear if the friend has spoken to the flight attendant ahead of the story being revealed.
Musk attended a session with a mediator and the attendant (not pictured), hoping to resolve this quickly
‘If there were a way for [her] to come forward without putting herself at risk, without jeopardizing her life in any way, I believe she would,’ the friend said. ‘I hope she feels like I did the right thing. I hope she feels I said the things that she didn’t feel safe enough to say.’
This is the first such allegation of sexual misconduct against the tech mogul – which Musk noted when asked for comment on the situation.
He said: ‘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 added that there is ‘a lot more to this story’ which he called a ‘politically motivated hit piece.’
Both SpaceX and Tesla have faced allegations of sexual harassment as well as lawsuits.
The friend said she hopes anyone else who may have been mistreated by Musk comes forward.
These accusations come during a period where Musk has perhaps never dominated the news cycle more.
He’s in the middle of a tumultuous buyout of the social media giant Twitter – which Musk repeatedly said was ‘on hold’ over the past week over claims that the platform was downplaying its number of bots.
Executives at the social media giant, however, insisted on Thursday that the deal was still on.
Asked initially why he wanted to buy Twitter, the South African billionaire said it was to promote free speech, and that he intended to ‘clean up’ Twitter, and get rid of spam and bots. Then, on Friday, he said that the $44 billion deal was ‘temporarily on hold’ until Twitter could prove that less than 5 percent of its users were fake or spam accounts.
Musk on Thursday tweeted a meme showing himself looking at the Twitter data and realizing many accounts were bots – while the Twitter board said they always knew that
‘This is a big deal,’ he said on Monday at a podcast summit.
‘It seems like if you said, ‘Okay, I agree to buy your house.’ You say the house has less than 5 percent termites. That’s an acceptable number. But if it turns out it is 90 percent termites, that’s not okay. It’s not the same house.’
Musk remains convinced that Twitter’s leadership is not being honest with him about the number of bots, and on Thursday tweeted a meme of an astronaut, labelled ‘Elon’, staring into the abyss and saying: ‘Wait it’s all bots?’
Another astronaut, labelled ‘Twitter Board’, holds a gun to his head and replies: ‘Always has been.’
Musk on Thursday afternoon insisted he was not spending an excessive amount of time on the Twitter deal
When CEO Parag Agrawal tweeted a lengthy explanation of the 5% figure Musk was given – which was stated in company documents before Musk made his offer – the billionaire responded with a poop emoji.
Musk also garnered headlines this week after claiming that he will switch political allegiances and vote for the Republican party in the next election, after casting his ballot ‘overwhelmingly’ for the Democratic party in the past.
The world’s richest man, who was born in South African and holds US citizenship, is registered as an independent voter and describes himself as a moderate.
However, in recent years – and particularly while publicly discussing his Twitter takeover – the Tesla and SpaceX CEO has shown a leaning more towards the political right.
Speaking via video link at a tech summit in Miami, Florida on Monday, hosted by the All-In podcast, Musk confirmed he would be changing his vote.
‘The reality is that Twitter at this point, you know, has a very far left bias,’ Musk told attendees. ‘I would classify myself as a moderate, neither Republican nor Democrat.
‘I have voted overwhelmingly for Democrats, historically. Like I’m not sure, I might never have voted for a Republican, just to be clear,’ Musk continued, adding: ‘Now this election I will.’
Speaking via video link at a tech summit in Miami on Monday (pictured), hosted by the All-In podcast, Musk confirmed he would be changing his vote from Democrat to Republican