The leader of the largest flight attendant union in the world has hit out at Elon Musk after allegations that he sexually assaulted a female private jet crew member emerged on Thursday.
Sara Nelson, international president of the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA-CWA) likened the attitude that Musk displayed toward his alleged victim as “all too common to flight attendants” and as a reminder of why flight attendants unionized in the first place.
“Musk believes that money gives him the right to do anything that he pleases, regardless of the rights, humanity, or protestations of others,” Nelson said on Friday.
“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,” Nelson continued.
According to a report first published by Insider, Musk sexually assaulted a flight attendant by exposing his erect penis to her and asking her to “do more” while rubbing her leg. In return, Musk offered to buy her a horse because he knew she was a horserider.
The assault allegedly occurred in 2016 on a private jet owned by SpaceX. The flight attendant was giving Musk a full body massage after being encouraged to become a licenced masseuse by SpaceX managers when she was hired.
Details of the assault were leaked by a ‘friend’ of the flight attendant but the victim is reportedly unable to verify the report because she signed a non-disclosure agreement in 2018 as part of a £250,000 out of court settlement.
Nelson says unions helped banish an era of sexual harassment and misogny that came to define the flight attendant career in the 1950s and 1960s when female crew weren’t allowed to be married, had to stay within defined restrictive weight limits, were made to wear short skirts, and had to quit when they became pregnant of hit 30-years-old.
“We will not allow Elon Musk and his friends to continue treating workers as second class or disposable characters in their play station,” Nelson said on Friday.
“Flight attendants are not just another accessory on Musk’s little rocket. His corporate America no longer holds the power it tried to take from workers.”
Nelson, who is dubbed ‘the most powerful flight attendant in the United States’, was reelected as union leader last week for a new four-year term.
Her union represents more than 50,000 crew members at 18 airlines including United Airlines. The leftist star of the labor movement, Nelson came to prominence in 2019 when her calls for a general strike were credited with helping to end President Trump’s government shutdown.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.