SpaceX’s president and chief operating officer, Gwynne Shotwell, has defended the CEO Elon Musk over recent sexual misconduct claims aimed at him, CNBC reported on Monday, citing a company email.
What Happened: Shotwell told SpaceX employees that she believes the allegations against Musk are false.
“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,” the report said, citing Shotwell’s email to employees on Friday.
SpaceX did not immediately respond to Benzinga’s request for comment.
The world’s richest man, who also heads Tesla Inc TSLA, has denied the claims, calling them “wild accusations.” SpaceX reportedly paid $250,000 severance to the flight attendant.
50-year-old Musk claimed the story, first reported by Business Insider, was a “politically motivated hit piece,” although both Musk and SpaceX have not denied allegations about the severance payment.
Why It Matters: SpaceX has previously faced employee complaints. In December, a former company engineer alleged the company is “rife with sexism” and that its human resources team does not protect victims of harassment or abuse.
The development also comes as SpaceX is looking to raise $1.725 billion in new funding round that could lift its valuation to $127 billion.
It also follows Musk’s big move to buy Twitter Inc TWTR in a $44 billion take-private deal.
Price Action: Tesla shares closed 1.6% higher at $674.9 on Monday.