Last month, Insider published a bombshell report about a former SpaceX flight attendant who accused SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk of exposing himself and offering her sex in 2016 and who the company paid $250,000 to shut up. Musk immediately called the story “a politically motivated blockbuster,” while SpaceX President and COO Gwynne Shotwell came to Musk’s defense in a later-wide email. of the company reported by CNBC in which she wrote: “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 I have never seen or heard anything resembling these allegations.
Now a much more damaging new insider report has just come out that puts Shotwell – and all of Musk’s other companies inside management – in a very uncomfortable position.
According to the story, published late afternoon: “Court documents obtained by Insider show that tech mogul Elon Musk quietly had 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 their father’s last name and contain their mother’s last name in their middle name. “. The order was approved by an Austin, Texas judge last May. . . The twins were born weeks before Musk and Claire Boucher, the musician who plays Grimes, had their second child via surrogate in December.
Zilis (or someone acting on his behalf) has already removed any mention of Neuralink from a website about his background, as well as dismantling his LinkedIn page.
Until recently, that same page said the work experience of Zilis — a Yale graduate who started her career at IBM, then invested on behalf of the Bloomberg-backed venture capital firm Bloomberg Beta until early 2016 – included Neuralink, Tesla and OpenAI.
All three, of course, have deep ties to Musk, who founded Neuralink, co-founded OpenAI and took over as CEO 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 member of its board.
In 2017, she reportedly joined Tesla as a project manager.
Today, Zilis holds the title of director of operations and special projects for Neuralink, where Musk serves as co-CEO.
Insider adds that Zilis previously worked as a project manager in the CEO’s office.
The outlet also says Zilis was recently touted as one of the people Musk could use to run Twitter after its acquisition.
TechCrunch has not independently verified Insider’s account. Meanwhile, Musk, who is usually very active on Twitter and hasn’t responded to Insider’s requests for comment (or Zilis), remains mum for now, though he tweeted last month that the falling birth rates in the United States is a “demographic disaster,” adding, “I mean, I’m doing my part haha.
The biggest question the story raises, beyond how many children Musk plans to father — he appears to have at least nine children with various partners — is whether any of these companies have fraternization policies that prohibit romantic relationships between a manager and a staff member. .
While most companies the size of Tesla and SpaceX prohibit romantic relationships between employees who are separated by two levels in the chain of command, Musk is not known as someone who follows the standard rules.
Yet even though Neuralink, Tesla, and OpenAI (where Musk has dissociated in 2019) don’t have policies in place to prevent fraternization, it’s obviously a huge distraction, it’s bad for morale, and it could open companies up to massive lawsuits from Zilis if, at some point, she decides he abused the power he wielded as CEO.
Nor is he likely viewed favorably by the US government, which has previously been cold to Tesla under the Biden administration.
The reported development also renders the board of directors of Musk’s companies surprisingly lax and puts advocates like Shotwell in the unenviable position of having to reassure employees that Musk shares the same ethos. He’s probably being asked to do it tonight.
We don’t envy him having to write that next company-wide email.