Last month, Insider published an explosive report about a former SpaceX flight attendant who accused SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk of stripping and propositioning her in 2016 and being paid $250,000 by the company to keep quiet. Musk immediately called the story a “politically motivated blockbuster,” while SpaceX President and Chief Operating Officer Gwynne Shotwell came to Musk’s defense in a subsequent company-wide email, reported by CNBC, writing: “ I personally believe the allegations are false; not because I work for Elon, but because I have worked closely with him for 20 years and have never seen or heard anything resembling these allegations.”
A new, far more damaging Insider report has just surfaced, putting Shotwell — and all the other executive insiders at Musk’s various companies — in a very uncomfortable position.
According to a story published late this afternoon: “Court documents obtained by Insider show that tech mogul Elon Musk quietly fathered twins last November with one of his top executives, Shivon Zilis. In April, Musk, 51, and Zilis, 36, filed a petition to change the twins’ names to “have the father’s last name and include the mother’s last name as part of the middle name.” The order was approved by a judge in Austin, Texas, this May. . . The twins were born weeks before Musk and Claire Boucher, a musician who performs as Grimes, welcomed their second child via surrogate in December.”
Zilis (or someone acting on her behalf) has already removed any mention of Neuralink from her background website, and has also removed her LinkedIn page.
Until recently, that same site noted that Zilis’s work experience — a Yale graduate who began her career at IBM and then invested on behalf of Bloomberg-backed venture firm Bloomberg Beta until early 2016 — included Neuralink, Tesla and OpenAI.
All three are, of course, closely related to Musk, who founded Neuralink, co-founded OpenAI and took over the leadership of Tesla in 2008.
Specifically, Insider says, Zilis first met Musk in 2016 when she was a director at OpenAI, where she is now the youngest board member.
She is expected to join Tesla as a project director in 2017.
Today, Zilis holds the title of director of operations and special projects for Neuralink, where Musk is co-CEO.
The insider adds that Zilis previously worked as a project director in the CEO’s office.
The outlet also says that Zilis was recently floated as one of the people Musk could use to lead Twitter after its purchase.
Root Devices has not independently verified Insider’s account. Meanwhile, Musk, who is usually very active on Twitter and did not respond to Insider’s requests for comment (neither is Zilis), is staying mum for now, though he tweeted last month that the declining U.S. birthrate is a “demographic disaster,” adding : “I mean, I’m doing my part, haha.”
The biggest question raised by the story, aside from how many children Musk plans to start — he appears to have at least nine children with various partners — is whether any of these companies have a fraternization policy that prohibits romantic relationships between a manager and an employee who reports. .
While most companies the size of Tesla and SpaceX prohibit dating between employees who are separated by two levels in the chain of command, Musk is not known as someone who follows the standard rules.
Still, even if Neuralink, Tesla, and OpenAI (where Musk gave up in 2019) don’t have policies in place to prevent fraternization, it’s clearly a huge distraction, bad for morale, and could open the companies up to massive lawsuits from Zilis if at some point down the road he decides he abused the power he had as a DIRECTOR.
It is likely that the US government, which was cold-blooded towards Tesla even under the Biden administration, does not take kindly to this.
It has also been reported that the boards of directors at Musk’s companies appear shockingly lax, putting advocates like Shotwell in the unenviable position of having to convince employees that Musk shares their ethics. No doubt they are asking her to do it tonight.
We don’t envy her having to write the next email for the entire company.