Former Twitter CEO Dick Costolo sent a brief message to the new head of the company on Wednesday. Elon Musk: “Intimidation is not leadership.”
Musk spent part of his day publicly attacking one of his new employees on the platform he said he would buy two days earlierwhich drew condemnation from many Twitter users and prompted hordes of his loyal fans throw verbal abuse at her.
“What’s the matter? You’re making the CEO of the company you just bought the object of harassment and threats,” Costolo, who ran Twitter from 2010 to 2015, wrote in a direct response to one of Musk’s tweets.
Musk, the richest man in the world, got into a fight with Twitter’s lead lawyer Vijay Gadde, who has been with the company for more than a decade and has served as a force for change in recent years on a platform that has long suffered from verbal abuse and misinformation. . She was central to Twitter’s decision to block former President Donald Trump. CNN reported last year.
On Tuesday, right-wing political commentator Saagar Enjety called Gadde Twitter “a major proponent of censorship” for limiting the spread of the first Hunter Biden family member’s laptop story. Musk bluntly responded to Anjety, calling the decision “incredibly inappropriate.”
Gadde was He reportedly showed emotion during a virtual meeting with her team on Monday, when she expressed concern about the direction the company is heading under Musk.
On Wednesday afternoon, Musk posted an image critical of Gadde, using images from an episode of the Joe Rogan podcast in which Gadde appeared and spent time defending the content moderation policies she helped shape. His tweet claimed that Gadde was pursuing a policy that betrayed her “leftist bias”.
In a 2019 episode of Joe Rogan, Gadde defended the site’s policy of misrepresenting the gender of transgender people, citing studies of community suicide rates.
Musk is expected to loosen the rules on what people can post on Twitter, which will likely increase the amount of hate speech on the site. Like Gadde, many Twitter employees reportedly concerned about how Musk will manage the platform.
He touched on the dispute indirectly in another tweet late Wednesday night: “For Twitter to earn public trust, it must be politically neutral, which effectively means upsetting the far right and the far left equally.” But he didn’t specify what “frustrating” decisions he would make.
New York Times podcaster Kara Swisher, longtime tech journalist, gave a gloomy answer to Costolo’s question about Musk’s motives for publicly humiliating an employee.
“What’s going on is he’s trying to get people to leave, and that’s a disgusting way,” Swisher said. “He’d rather they quit than pay them.”
Gadde has not spoken publicly about Musk’s attacks. Twitter declined to comment.