Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX president and chief operating officer, defended her boss Elon Musk last week against sexual harassment allegations, according to a report from CNBC.
In an all-hands email to employees, Shotwell said recent allegations of misconduct seemed to be out of character for the SpaceX and Tesla CEO, who is also in the midst of a $44 billion takeover bid for Twitter.
“Personally, I believe the allegations to be false; not because I work for Elon, but because I have worked closely with him for 20 years and never seen nor heard anything resembling these allegations,” Shotwell wrote.
SpaceX and Shotwell didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.
Shotwell’s remarks came in response to a bombshell report from Insider last week, which said that Musk had exposed himself to a flight attendant in 2016 and offered to buy the woman a horse in exchange for an “erotic massage.” SpaceX reportedly settled the claim four years ago for $250,000.
Musk has vehemently denied the accusations, saying they are politically motivated. “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,” Musk tweeted after the article’s publication.
The claims come amid a chaotic Twitter buyout proposal from Musk. Last month, he laid out his plan for the platform, envisioning it as a beacon of free speech and transparency in content moderation. Musk said he’d open-source Twitter’s algorithms and undo the ban on former president Donald Trump instituted after the Jan. 6 insurrection.
Musk said last week that he was putting the bid “on hold” over details of Twitter’s disclosures on the number of bots on the platform, though he said he is “still committed” to the deal. In response, Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal posted a long tweet thread explaining the company’s procedures regarding bots. Musk replied with a poop emoji.