Headline, Technology

Indian American Twitter executive in Musk’s crosshairs

Former Twitter CEO Dick Costolo tells new big boss “Bullying is not leadership

As an Indian American executive at Twitter ran into the cross hairs of Elon Musk, the new billionaire buyer of the social media platform, former Twitter CEO Dick Costolo slammed him.

“Bullying is not leadership,” tweeted Costolo, Twitter CEO from 2010 to 2015, accusing Musk of making Vijaya Gadde, Twitter’s head of legal, policy and trust, a ‘target of harassment and threats.’

“What’s going on? You’re making an executive at the company you just bought the target of harassment and threats,” he asked in response to a Gadde meme posted by Musk.

The Tesla CEO had criticized Gadde in a post citing Twitter’s decision in the run-up to the 2020 election to temporarily ban the sharing of links to a controversial New York Post article on President Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden.

“Suspending the Twitter account of a major news organization for publishing a truthful story was obviously incredibly inappropriate,” Musk wrote implying that the corporation has a “left-wing bias” prompted by Gadde.

Musk’s criticism of Twitter sparked a barrage of abusive remarks, some of them racist against Gadde, who came to the US from India as a three-year old. Expletives were used with respect to Gadde’s Indian origin, including terms like “curry”.

Read: Ashok Elluswamy was Musk’s first hire for Tesla autopilot team (January 3, 2022)

Other Twitter users blamed her for destroying countless accounts for “speaking the truth.” Some even wanted her out of the company.

Musk was quick to hit back at Costolo. “What are you talking about?” he retorted. “I’m just saying Twitter needs to be politically neutral.”

“For Twitter to deserve public trust, it must be politically neutral, which effectively means upsetting the far right and the far left equally,” Musk tweeted.

Musk did not use Gadde’s name in his tweet, which was in response to an article posted by conservative journalist Saagar Enjeti.

“Vijaya Gadde, the top censorship advocate at Twitter who famously gaslit the world on Joe Rogan’s podcast and censored the Hunter Biden laptop story, is very upset about the @elonmusk takeover,” Enjeti had tweeted.

He even posted a meme featuring Gadde about Twitter’s “left-wing bias” during a discussion on a podcast show, The Joe Rogan Experience, with American YouTuber Tim Pool and Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey.

Musk was responding to Enjeti’s post about a Politico story in which Twitter’s “top censorship advocate” Gadde allegedly cried during a meeting to discuss Musk’s acquisition.

“Gadde, a key executive involved in decisions to remove former President Donald Trump and ban political advertising, expressed uncertainty about the future of the platform,” Politico reported April 26.

“Monday was an emotional day at Twitter — even for its executives. Shortly after billionaire Elon Musk bought the powerful social media platform, top Twitter lawyer Vijaya Gadde called a virtual meeting with the policy and legal teams she oversees to discuss what the new ownership could mean for them,” it said.

“Gadde cried during the meeting as she expressed concerns about how the company could change, according to three people familiar with the meeting,” Politico said. “She acknowledged that there are significant uncertainties about what the company will look like under Musk’s leadership.”

Politico cited Twitter spokesperson Trenton Kennedy as saying Gadde became emotional when discussing her team’s impact and the pride she feels in them.

Politico said its sources confirmed that she spoke at length about how she is proud of the work her team has done and offered employees encouragement, urging them to keep striving to do good work at the company.

Gadde, who has worked at Twitter since 2011, is the key executive charged with overseeing Twitter’s trust and safety, legal and public policy functions.

She is seen internally as Twitter’s “moral authority” and the executive tasked with handling sensitive issues like harassment and dangerous speech, according to Politico.

Gadde played a leading role in negotiating the deal between Twitter and Musk, according to one person familiar with the dynamics, it said.

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