Twitter executive racially abused, harassed after Elon Musk amplified critical tweet

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It comes after some employees sought assurances they would be safe if targeted. Photo credit: Getty Images

A Twitter executive received a wave of harassment from users after Elon Musk amplified a tweet which reported she had cried in a meeting about the company's future.

It's been just a few days since the controversial billionaire's bid to takeover Twitter was accepted by the board, and there is already concern over the potential impact it has had.

Podcast host Saagar Enjeti wrote that 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 Elon Musk takeover".

He included a screenshot from a Politico report that Gadde had cried during a virtual meeting with her policy and legal teams to discuss what Musk's ownership could mean for the future of the company.

Gadde has been employed by the platform since 2011 and issues such as harassment and dangerous speech are within her and her team's remits.

That has included the decision to remove political advertising as well as banning former President Donald Trump following the January 6 riot at the Capitol, although that doesn't mean Gadde was solely responsible for those decisions.

"Gadde cried during the meeting as she expressed concerns about how the company could change, according to three people familiar with the meeting," Politico reported.

"Twitter spokesperson Trenton Kennedy said Gadde became emotional when discussing her team's impact and the pride she feels in them."

Musk replied to Enjeti, saying that suspending the Twitter account of a major news organisation for publishing a "truthful story was obviously incredibly inappropriate".

That prompted a series of attacks on Gadde, including racist comments and others calling her "scum", a "femishit', and "personally responsible for untold thousands of deaths" after removing COVID-19 treatment misinformation posts.

Musk then shared a right-wing meme featuring an image of Gadde which drew a scathing response from former Twitter CEO Dick Costolo, who ran the company between 2010 and 2015.

"What's going on? You're making an executive at the company you just bought the target of harassment and threats," he wrote.

Musk then amplified another attack on an employee, this time from alt-right provocateur Mike Cernovich about Twitter lawyer Jim Baker, suggesting he had committed fraud.

It follows a Washington Post report that employees of the social media platform had sought assurances during a company town hall after the takeover was announced they would be safe if Musk targeted them online.

"Twitter employees in recent weeks have repeatedly expressed concerns in interviews, at a companywide town hall, and internal online forums, that they could be targeted by the world's richest man," the newspaper wrote.

Musk's terms to buy Twitter include the ability to tweet about the purchase as long as "such tweets do not disparage the Company or any of its Representatives", drawing some online commentators to believe this could endanger the deal.

However the Post, quoting a source familiar with the deal, said the clause was only applicable to comments about the deal itself, so comments about employees would not violate the clause.