Elon Musk accused of pursuing women at his company for sex

The plaintiffs cited a series of tweets by Elon Musk, several of which reference his penis
The plaintiffs cited a series of tweets by Elon Musk, several of which reference his penis - AP

Elon Musk pursued women at his company for sex, including a former intern more than 20 years his junior with whom he had a relationship, according to a report.

Former executives at Mr Musk’s SpaceX wrote in signed affidavits – first reported by The Wall Street Journal – that the billionaire also had a month-long affair in 2014 with a second female employee who reported to him directly.

The newspaper claims she faced recriminations when the relationship ended badly, and she left the company and signed an agreement prohibiting her from discussing her work for Mr Musk.

Mr Musk, SpaceX’s chief executive, is also alleged in 2013 to have asked a third member of staff to have his children.

According to the affidavit, the employee refused Mr Musk’s advances and he then denied her a raise.

Mr Musk and SpaceX have been approached for comment.

Former SpaceX executives told the newspaper that company policies are not enforced with Mr Musk, and that contributes to a culture of sexism and harassment.

SpaceX’s president, Gwynne Shotwell, told the newspaper that the company fully investigates all complaints of harassment and takes appropriate actions in response.

In a separate case, SpaceX and Mr Musk were sued on Wednesday by eight engineers who say they were illegally fired for raising concerns about alleged sexual harassment and discrimination against women.

The engineers – four women and four men – claim that Mr Musk ordered them to be sacked in 2022 after they circulated a letter calling the billionaire a “distraction and embarrassment” and urging executives to disavow sexually charged comments he had made on social media.

In the lawsuit, which was filed in a state court in Los Angeles, the plaintiffs cited a series of tweets by Mr Musk, several of which reference his penis, including one from 2022 telling the former chief executive of YouTube “if you touch my wiener, you can have a horse.”

The lawsuit says Mr Musk’s conduct fostered a “pervasively sexist culture” at SpaceX where female engineers were routinely subjected to harassment and sexist comments and their concerns about workplace culture were ignored.

Senior engineers, for example, used euphemisms for sexual acts and male genitals to describe rocket components, according to the lawsuit.

“These actions ... had the foreseeable and actual result of offending, causing distress, and intruding upon Plaintiffs’ well-being so as to disrupt their emotional tranquility in the workplace,” the plaintiffs said in the filing.

SpaceX did not respond to a request for comment on the California lawsuit but it has in the past denied wrongdoing, saying the 2022 letter was disruptive and the workers were properly fired for violating company policies.

The company has also denied that Musk was involved in the decision to fire the engineers.

The plaintiffs are seeking unspecified damages and an order barring SpaceX from continuing to engage in its allegedly unlawful conduct.

Allegations of sexual harassment and retaliation at SpaceX have been raised in previous legal filings, including California civil rights complaints earlier this year.