Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey stepped down Monday, only to be replaced by a new chief who immediately found himself in hot water for, of all things, an inflammatory tweet.
“‘If they are not gonna make a distinction between muslims and extremists, then why should I distinguish between white people and racists,'” Twitter’s new CEO Parag Agrawal said in a 2010 tweet.
"If they are not gonna make a distinction between muslims and extremists, then why should I distinguish between white people and racists."
— Parag Agrawal (@paraga) October 26, 2010
Agrawal is the company’s former CTO.
The tweet is missing some context. The message was tweeted inside quotation marks, indicated that it might not be originally written by Agrawal.
The Tennessee Star asked Twitter for clarification, but none was given. The micro-blogging site also ignored The Star when asked whether Agrawal’s tweet violated its terms of service.
Agrawal is also facing scrutiny for comments during a 2020 speech, which was also during the height of Twitter’s many censorship scandals. Twitter has banned prominent conservatives all the way up to former President Donald J. Trump, using often-ambiguous “terms of service violations” to justify its actions.
“Our role is not to be bound by the First Amendment…focus[ing] less on thinking about free speech, but thinking about how the times have changed,” Agrawal reportedly said at the time.
Dorsey fully endorsed his successor while stepping down.
“I’ve decided to leave Twitter because I believe the company is ready to move on from its founders,” he said in an email to staff that he later posted publicly. “My trust in Parag as Twitter’s CEO is deep. His work over the past 10 years has been transformational,” he added of his successor. “I’m deeply grateful for his skill, heart, and soul. It’s his time to lead.”
Dorsey said he was “really sad but really happy” to be leaving the company he founded.
He also quipped that “there aren’t many founders who choose their company over their own ego.”
Shares of Twitter stock soared 11 percent pre-market on the rumor that Dorsey was leaving his post, and surged even further when the news was official. NASDAQ briefly paused trading on Twitter stock during that time.
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