Twitter’s chief lawyer — seen as the social network’s top advocate for censoring conservatives — is among the highly paid executives who stand to lose their job if Elon Musk completes his takeover of the company.
Vijaya Gadde, who earned $17 million last year as Twitter’s top legal counsel, could be on the chopping block as Musk is reportedly planning to slash jobs and reduce executive pay as he looks to secure financing for his Twitter bid.
After disclosing plans to acquire the company earlier this month, Musk expressed “no confidence” in Twitter’s current management — which doesn’t bode well for their future once he takes the helm later this year.
Nevertheless, Gadde also stands to win a nice consolation price if she’s fired: a severance package worth $12.5 million that includes the accelerated vesting of a trove of Twitter shares she has accrued.
The 48-year-old Gadde, who reportedly broke down in tears when addressing colleagues about the future of Twitter, has become a lightning rod for controversy in recent days due in no small part to Musk himself, who tweeted a meme that painted her as oblivious to a “liberal bias” at Twitter.
The meme draws on an appearance by Gadde and her then-boss, former CEO Jack Dorsey, on Joe Rogan’s podcast “The Joe Rogan Experience” in 2019.
During that appearance, conservative journalist Tim Pool confronted both Dorsey and Gadde about instances in which right-wing voices were banned from Twitter.
The Musk tweet as well as a critical tweet by journalist Saagar Enjeti, who called Gadde Twitter’s “top censorship advocate” who “censored the Hunter Biden laptop story,” prompted pro-Musk Twitter users to criticize her.
Musk also implicitly criticized Gadde by calling Twitter’s decision to block links to the New York Post’s coverage of Hunter Biden’s laptop “obviously incredibly inappropriate.”
The piece was banned by major social media sites in the weeks before the election, with Twitter justifying accusations of censorship by labeling the story “content obtained through hacking that contains private information.”
Many mainstream outlets also tried to discredit the Post’s article, before later reporting on its veracity long after President Joe Biden was elected.
In response to the flood of online criticism directed at Gadde earlier this week, another top Twitter executive defended her and accused Musk of “misogyny.”
Lara Cohen, Twitter’s global head of partners, also shared messages of support for Leslie Berland, the company’s chief marketing officer who was caught in leaked audio suggesting that Musk’s plans for free speech put them in “a very difficult position.”
“Color me shocked SHOCKED that people are coming for two of our prominent female executives on day 1 of this thing,” Cohen tweeted late Tuesday.
She also shared a tweet attacking Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley for pointing out that the tearful Gadde was “the same one who led the charge to censor the Hunter Biden laptop reporting. Says it all.”
Hawley called on the world’s richest man to also now investigate the company’s old ways, including widespread suspensions of accounts as well as reports of shadowbans suppressing voices.
In an official letter, he called on Musk to also investigate “who was responsible for deliberately suppressing the New York Post’s now-vindicated reporting on Hunter Biden’s laptop and business dealings.”