Elon Musk Is Suddenly Drowning in Misconduct Allegations

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Eight SpaceX employees who were fired in 2022 sued Elon Musk on Wednesday alleging that they were ousted for raising allegations about sexual harassment and gender discrimination at the company.

The lawsuit, filed in California, alleges that Musk “knowingly and purposefully created an unwelcome hostile work environment based upon his conduct of interjecting into the workplace vile sexual photographs, memes, and commentary that demeaned women and/or the LGBTQ+ community.” The sexual-harassment and retaliation suit focuses on an incident in 2022 in which Musk posted jokes about the sexual-misconduct allegation levied against him by a SpaceX flight attendant. After Musk made these jokes, the defendants in the lawsuit wrote an open letter calling out his crude statements and the company culture — for which they allege they were fired.

According to the suit, Musk himself made the decision to fire them after a human-resources member claimed that an investigation should be launched before letting the defendants go. “I don’t care, fire them,” Musk said, according to the complaint. Already, a majority of the defendants have raised their concerns with the National Labor Relations Board, which found in a filing last month that Musk illegally fired them. SpaceX — which has not responded to requests for comment — then sued the NLRB in response.

Musk has faced allegations of sexual misconduct before, including an incident in 2016 in which he allegedly offered a horse to a flight attendant in exchange for an erotic massage; SpaceX then paid the woman $250,000 to stay quiet. But the timing could create significant problems for the world’s richest man. Late on Tuesday, The Wall Street Journal reported that Musk allegedly had sexual relationships with several female staffers at SpaceX — having sex with a former intern 20 years his junior, having sex with a direct report, and asking another employee to have his children. (Musk did not comment on the allegations.) With all this on the mind of Tesla shareholders, Musk is facing a vote over his pay package that could cost him tens of billions of dollars if he loses.

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