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Things get complicated for Elon Musk with report on new twins he shares with Neuralink exec – TechCrunch


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Last month, Insider posted explosive report about a former SpaceX flight attendant who accused SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk of proposing to her for sex in 2016 and was paid $250,000 by the company to keep quiet. Musk immediately called the story “a politically motivated hit piece,” while SpaceX President and COO Gwynne Shotwell came to Musk’s defense in a company-wide email. covered by CNBC in which he wrote: “Personally, I 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 like these allegations.”

Unfortunately, a new and much more harmful internal report it’s putting Shotwell, and all the other insider executives at Musk’s various companies, in an even more awkward position.

According to the story, published late in the 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 as part of their middle name.” . The order was approved by a judge in Austin in May, the report adds, and the “twins were born weeks before Musk and Claire Boucher, the musician who performs as Grimes, had their second child via surrogacy in December. “.

Zilis (or someone acting on his behalf) has already removed any mention of Neuralink from a place about its background, in addition to dismantling it LinkedIn page.

Until recently, that same page said that the work experience of Zilis, a Yale graduate who began her career at IBM, then invested on behalf of the Bloomberg-backed venture team, 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 leadership of Tesla in 2008.

Specifically, Insider says, Zilis first met Musk in 2016 when she was director of OpenAI, where she is now the youngest member of its board of directors.

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 is co-CEO.

The outlet also says that Zilis has recently come forward as one of the people Musk could leverage to run Twitter if his proposed $44 billion takeover of the company goes ahead as expected.

TechCrunch has not independently verified the Insider account. Musk, who is usually very active on Twitter and who did not respond to requests for comment from Insider (neither did Zilis), meanwhile remains quiet for now, although he tweeted last month that falling birthrates in the US The US is a “demographic disaster.” ”, and he added:“ I mean, I’m doing my part haha ​​”.

The biggest question the story raises, beyond how many children Musk plans to father (it appears he has at least nine with various partners), is whether any of these companies have fraternization policies that prohibit romantic relationships between a manager and a member. of the staff.

While most companies the size of Tesla and SpaceX ban dating relationships between employees two levels apart in the chain of command, Musk is known for flaunting traditional rules. (A 2020 Tesla employee handbook isn’t exactly standard rate, warning that “Our assumption will be that if you don’t call and don’t show up for work, you’re an idiot. You better have a very good reason for not letting us know why you didn’t come in or you’re leaving here”).

Even if Neuralink, Tesla and OpenAI (where Musk he disassociated himself in 2019) do not have policies in place that prevent fraternization, this new report is hugely problematic. The fact that Musk has secret children with a direct report will obviously prove to be a huge distraction for other staff members. It’s bad for morale, which is the last thing Tesla in particular seems to need at the moment given his and so many others. employee battles. might as well open up Musk’s companies to massive lawsuits from Zilis if at any point she decides he abused his power as CEO.

Not last but probably least of a concern, the development will probably not be viewed favorably by the US government, which has already been cold towards Tesla under the Biden administration. (The government is a separate large client of SpaceX, where Zilis has not been employed.)

Meanwhile, the report makes the board of directors of Musk’s companies look staggeringly lax, and puts advocates like Shotwell in the position of having to reassure employees that Musk has the same laser focus on the success of his companies as he says. he expects of them. No doubt he is being asked to do that tonight, perhaps in another company-wide email. We do not envy you the work.

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