WSJ defends editor under attack from Elon Musk over allegation of affair with Sergey Brin’s ex-wife

WSJ defends editor under attack from Elon Musk over claim he had an affair with Sergey Brin’s ex-wife – and says he was NOT on the story’s editing team

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The Wall Street Journal says Elon Musk’s online attacks against Investigations Editor Michael Siconolfi are ‘unwarranted and unfounded after the paper claimed Musk had an affair with the then-wife of Google’s co-founder. 

A Wall Street Journal spokesman told DailyMail.com that they were ‘confident in our sourcing and stand by our reporting.’ WSJ also noted Siconolfi was ‘not part of the editing team’ for Grind and Glazer’s story.

The Tesla CEO called out Siconolfi and the newspaper on Twitter after the publication of a recent article claiming he had an affair with Nicole Shanahan, the estranged wife of Google co-founder Sergey Brin.

The ‘fake hit piece’ – as Musk called it – argued the alleged affair served as a catalyst for Shanahan and Brin’s divorce.

It is unclear why Musk, 51, publicly slammed Siconolfi as reporters Kristen Grind and Emily Glazer are named as the only authors on the article.

The Wall Street Journal says Elon Musk's online attacks against Investigations Editor Michael Siconolfi are 'unwarranted and unfounded.' Musk is pictured in January 2019
The Tesla CEO called out Siconolfi  (pictured) and the newspaper on Twitter after the publication of a recent article claiming he had an affair with Nicole Shanahan, the estranged wife of Google co-founder Sergey Brin

The Wall Street Journal says Elon Musk’s (left) online attacks against Investigations Editor Michael Siconolfi (right) are ‘unwarranted and unfounded.’ The Tesla CEO called out Siconolfi and the newspaper over an article claiming he had an affair with Nicole Shanahan, the estranged wife of Google co-founder Sergey Brin

It is unclear why Musk, 51, publicly slammed Siconolfi as reporters Kristen Grind (pictured) and Emily Glazer are named as authors on the article
Wall Street Journal Reporter Emily Glazer

It is unclear why Musk, 51, publicly slammed Siconolfi as reporters Kristen Grind (left) and Emily Glazer (right) are named as authors on the article

WSJ published a story titled Elon Musk’s Friendship With Sergey Brin Ruptured by Alleged Affair on Monday, alleging the billionaire was romantically involved with Shanahan, 33, at an art event in Miami Beach last December.

The story, which cited unnamed sources ‘familiar’ with the alleged affair, claimed there is ‘growing tension’ between Musk and Brin – who have been friends for many years.

WSJ’s sources also alleged Musk ‘dropped to one knee’ in front of Brin, 48, at a party earlier this year to apologize for the affair and beg for forgiveness.

Mere hours after publication, Musk tweeted a photo of himself partying with Brin in an effort to disprove the newspaper’s bombshell claim. 

Replying to a post by Siconolfi, and tagging Grind and Glazer, Musk captioned the photo with emojis depicting long pants and fire in a playful reference to the childish saying ‘liar, liar, pants on fire’. 

Musk continued to show his aggravation with the investigations editor on Monday, tweeting that he’s trying to avoid the ‘supernova’ level of attention on him in the wake of the rumors about the alleged affair.

WSJ published a story titled Elon Musk¿s Friendship With Sergey Brin Ruptured by Alleged Affair on Monday, alleging Musk was involved with Shanahan, 33, at an art event in Miami Beach last December. Nicole Shanahan and Sergey Brin are pictured in November 2019

WSJ published a story titled Elon Musk’s Friendship With Sergey Brin Ruptured by Alleged Affair on Monday, alleging Musk was involved with Shanahan, 33, at an art event in Miami Beach last December. Nicole Shanahan and Sergey Brin are pictured in November 2019

WSJ editor Michael Siconolfi tweeted out a link to the article on Monday

WSJ editor Michael Siconolfi tweeted out a link to the article on Monday

Elon Musk tweeted this photo in response to WSJ editor Michael Siconolfi on Monday after the paper claimed he and Brin were not on speaking terms because of the alleged affair

Elon Musk tweeted this photo in response to WSJ editor Michael Siconolfi on Monday after the paper claimed he and Brin were not on speaking terms because of the alleged affair

Musk continued to show his aggravation with the investigations editor on Monday, tweeting that he's trying to avoid the 'supernova' level of attention on him in the wake of the rumors about the alleged affair

Musk continued to show his aggravation with the investigations editor on Monday, tweeting that he’s trying to avoid the ‘supernova’ level of attention on him in the wake of the rumors about the alleged affair

WSJ on Friday reiterated it is standing by its story, with a spokesman for the newspaper telling DailyMail.com: ‘We are confident in our sourcing, and we stand by our reporting.’

‘Recent attacks on Michael Siconolfi are unwarranted and unfounded. Mike is a celebrated and widely respected editor and reporter in our industry,’ the newspaper added in an additional statement.

‘He has overseen a wide array of impactful stories with integrity and high standards for The Wall Street Journal over many decades. For the record, Mike was not part of the editing team for this story.’

The statement came after Shanahan’s lawyer told exclusively DailyMail.com that she did not have an affair with the Tesla founder – calling it an ‘outright lie’.

Bryan Freedman said: ‘Make no mistake, any suggestion that Nicole had an affair with Elon Musk is not only an outright lie but also defamatory.’

Shanahan is a Stanford-educated lawyer who works at the firm Bio-Echa, an investment firm that pours money into projects like bolstering ‘reproductive longevity.’

Sergey Brin has been spotted whisking a mystery blonde away in a Tesla Thursday night after a cozy date in Malibu, California

Sergey Brin has been spotted whisking a mystery blonde away in a Tesla Thursday night after a cozy date in Malibu, California

Brin drove himself and his mystery blonde woman in the Tesla Model 3, worth up to $62,990 for the performance model, away from the restaurant on Thursday night

Brin drove himself and his mystery blonde woman in the Tesla Model 3, worth up to $62,990 for the performance model, away from the restaurant on Thursday night

Musk on Wednesday tweeted that Shanahan should sue WSJ over their story

Musk on Wednesday tweeted that Shanahan should sue WSJ over their story

A couple of hours later, Musk continued his criticisms, adding that the 'media is a click-seeking machine dressed up as a truth-seeking machine' and said he had spoken to Brin who confirmed he had not talked to WSJ

A couple of hours later, Musk continued his criticisms, adding that the ‘media is a click-seeking machine dressed up as a truth-seeking machine’ and said he had spoken to Brin who confirmed he had not talked to WSJ

Musk on Wednesday tweeted that Shanahan should sue WSJ over their story.

He said that as a ‘public person,’ he himself would not be able to win a defamation lawsuit against a news organization, but that Shanahan should pursue legal action. 

‘As a “public person,” standard to win a defamation lawsuit against a news org is almost impossible,’ he wrote. ‘They could say I’m Satan and the “source” is their psychic! Nicole is not a public person, so could win. I hope she sues them.’ 

He then  added a jab at Siconolfi, writing he ‘has done so many fake hit pieces.’

A couple of hours later, Musk continued his criticisms, adding that the ‘media is a click-seeking machine dressed up as a truth-seeking machine’ and said he had spoken to Brin who confirmed he had not talked to WSJ. 

Brin and Shanahan were married for four years before he filed for divorce in January, citing irreconcilable differences as the reason for their split. The proceedings still currently ongoing. 

When the divorce proceedings were launched, Shanahan said: ‘I hope for Sergey and I to move forward with dignity, honesty and harmony for the sake of our child. And we are both working towards that.’

The couple share a four-year-old daughter. 

Musk with Brin (far right) in the early 2000s. The Wall Street Journal claimed the 'affair' brought an abrupt end to the Brins' marriage and his friendship with Musk

Musk with Brin (far right) in the early 2000s. The Wall Street Journal claimed the ‘affair’ brought an abrupt end to the Brins’ marriage and his friendship with Musk

Sergey Brin and Nicole Shanahan are shown on Lake Como in July last year. She said in January when their divorce was announced: 'I hope for Sergey and I to move forward with dignity, honesty and harmony for the sake of our child. And we are both working towards that'

Sergey Brin and Nicole Shanahan are shown on Lake Como in July last year. She said in January when their divorce was announced: ‘I hope for Sergey and I to move forward with dignity, honesty and harmony for the sake of our child. And we are both working towards that’

Nicole Shanahan's (pictured September 2021) told DailyMail.com in an exclusive statement: 'Make no mistake, any suggestion that Nicole had an affair with Elon Musk is not only an outright lie but also defamatory'

Nicole Shanahan’s (pictured September 2021) told DailyMail.com in an exclusive statement: ‘Make no mistake, any suggestion that Nicole had an affair with Elon Musk is not only an outright lie but also defamatory’

The WSJ article also claimed that Brin was selling off all of his interests in Musk’s companies.

The pair have been friends for years, with Brin giving Musk $500,000 in 2008 to help him fund Tesla at the peak of the Global Financial Crash.

He also lent Musk the Google Party Plane for the Tesla CEO’s wedding to actress Talulah Riley in 2010.

Brin is the eighth richest man in the world with a net worth of $95 billion. 

He is said to own multiple interests in Musk’s many businesses, all of which he has ordered his aides to sell.

Brin has not yet commented on the Journal’s claims, but Musk has been denying the claims in a frenzy on Twitter accusing the newspaper – which is owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp – of launching ‘hit pieces’ against him all year.

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