SpaceX paid flight attendant US$250k to settle Elon Musk sexual misconduct claim - report

Elon Musk
He allegedly offered to buy a woman a horse in exchange for an 'erotic massage'. Photo credit: Getty Images

Elon Musk's SpaceX company paid a flight attendant US$250,000 (NZ$392,000) to settle a sexual misconduct claim against him, according to a new report.

The controversial billionaire is now the subject of widespread mockery on the internet over a bizarre detail of the claim involving a horse.

Business Insider reported it had obtained interviews and documents, including emails, which show the 2016 incident was settled by the company in 2018.

The flight attendant, according to a friend, accused Musk of "exposing his erect penis to her, rubbing her leg without consent, and offering to buy her a horse in exchange for an erotic massage", the website said.

When contacted by the website for comment, Musk asked for more time to respond to the story, saying there was "a lot more" to it.

"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 wrote.

Business Insider said it had extended the deadline and reiterated the offer to allow Musk to comment on the claims but "he did not respond".

Musk also told the website the story was a "politically motivated hit piece", which some online have taken as indication Musk was trying to get ahead of the story with his recent tweets.

In the last two days Musk had indicated he expected "political attacks" on him to escalate in the coming months. NBC News reporter Ben Collins pointed out the tweet saying that came just hours after he'd been approached for comment.

Musk also said he was going to vote for Republicans as the Democrats had become a party of division and hate.

"Now, watch their dirty tricks campaign against me unfold," he posted, again after he was approached for comment on the story.

Several social media posts are joking about the absurdity of offering someone a horse for a sexual favour.

The sexual harrassment complaint never reached the court and was resolved after a session with a mediator that Musk also attended, Business Insider reported.

"In November 2018, Musk, SpaceX and the flight attendant entered into a severance agreement granting the attendant a US$250,000 payment in exchange for a promise not to sue over the claims," the website reported.

There were also non-disclosure and non-disparagement clauses in the agreement that stopped her from ever discussing the complaint, which would explain why she wouldn't comment for the story.

Musk, a vocal proponent of free speech, is in the midst of trying to buy social media platform Twitter.

The US$44 billion deal, according to the Tesla CEO, is on hold pending a review of the percentage of bots that make up the platform's hundreds of millions of users.

However, the company told Bloomberg that it was proceeding with the sale and would not renegotiate the price.