Union leader Sara Nelson said flight attendants "are not just another accessory on Musk's little rocket."Nelson is president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, which represents 50,000 crewmembers.
The leader of a union representing 50,000 flight attendants has said they're "not just another accessory" on Elon Musk's "little rocket."
Insider reported Thursday that SpaceX, the aerospace firm founded by Musk, paid a flight attendant $250,000 to settle a sexual misconduct claim against Musk in 2018.
Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, said late Friday that Musk's alleged actions were a "stark reminder" of why flight attendants first decided to unionize 76 years ago and claim "our power to put misogyny and the privileged corporate class of men in check."
In a statement shared on Twitter, she said: Flight attendants are not just another accessory on Musk's little rocket.
According to interviews and documents obtained by Insider, the flight attendant 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.
A friend of the flight attendant told Insider that SpaceX "encouraged her to get licensed as a masseuse, but on her own time, on her own dime," and implied that she would get to fly more because she would be able to give Elon proper massages.
Nelson said: "The fact that he required flight attendants to become licensed masseuses on their own dime demonstrates what we see all too often the super rich think they own everything and have to pay for nothing. This attitude is all too common to flight attendants and something all workers have had to deal with from day one."
In a declaration seen by Insider, the flight attendant said "she was being pushed out and punished for refusing to prostitute herself" in the aftermath of the incident, eventually finalizing a $250,000 severance payment in November 2018.
SpaceX didn't immediately respond to a request for comment from Insider made outside normal working hours.
After Insider contacted Musk for comment, he emailed to ask for more time to respond and said there is "a lot more to this story."
"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, calling the story a "politically motivated hit piece."
After Insider published its story, Musk posted a series of rebuttals on Twitter, among other things calling the woman who accused him of sexually harassing her flight-attendant friend a "far left" actor "with a major political axe to grind."
This article originally appeared on Business Insider