Twitter. Elon Musk arrives with his sorrel and his pans

It is not yet at the head of Twitter – even if its offer of 44 billion dollars has been accepted by the shareholders – that Elon Musk is already sowing terror. He posted a photomontage last week with the face of Vijaya Gadde, the American-Indian social network lawyer who oversees the moderation policy, to mock his work. Seen by its 90 million subscribers – their number is increasing day by day – the image unleashed a violent wave of cyberbullying against the young woman. She calls herself “Curry”, “foreign scum” … among other racist insults interspersed with “White power”, in dozens of messages calling for her resignation. The pressure is such that it collapsed during a meeting bringing together all the employees on Friday, relating precisely to the change of owner. Since then, the many harassing messages have been enriched with the quip “Pleurnicheuse”. This gives a good idea of ​​what freedom of expression is according to Elon Musk.

Behind communication, mistrust

It is not his first attempt since, a few months ago, the billionaire had posted a photomontage mixing the face of Parag Agrawal, who had just been promoted to general manager of Twitter, and that of Stalin, to criticize the strengthening of moderation against false information on the social network. Agraval, feeling rightly in the hot seat, has included in the sale agreement a comfortable golden parachute of $42 million for his little person, should he lose his position as chief executive within the next twelve months. But its employees are themselves without a safety net.

Musk has indeed promised the banks that have lent him these billions to drastically cut the salaries of directors and executives at first, then to consider a wave of job cuts when he takes over as head of Twitter. Arrested on the issue on Friday by his employees worried about their position, Parag Agrawal kicked into touch. “His speech did not convince anyone, testified an employee to the Reuters agency about his explanations. He told us not to quit, to keep doing a job we would be proud of, but we got no guarantees. » Behind the communication, distrust reigns, employees no longer have the right to touch the code of Twitter without the agreement of a vice-president, for fear of sabotage.

Sexism and school jokes

The employees of the social network have all the more reason to be concerned that the social balance sheet of Elon Musk in his other companies is quite edifying. For six months, complaints of harassment and sexual assault have multiplied there. One of the victims, Ashley Kosak, testifies in a blog post to having been “grab the buttocks” at the coffee machine from his first days at SpaceX, before having his chest fiddled with. She explains that she received many sexual messages from other colleagues, one of whom even tried to break into her home. She says she warned, in vain, human resources. According to her, the responsibility comes from above: Musk does not hesitate to make fun of the physique of the women who launch alerts and maintains the ambient sexism of his schoolboy jokes.

For example, he decided to put on sale in the Tesla store a satin mini-short with “sexy” written on the buttocks ($ 69), or proposed to remove the “w” from Twitter to now send “titts” (nipples in English) and no longer twitts… More generally, Ashley Kosak accuses his former boss “to use its engineers as a resource to be exploited rather than as a team of human beings”. The record is no better when it comes to racism. After being ordered to pay $137 million in damages to a former black employee for turning a blind eye to the racism he suffered, Tesla is being sued by the state of California for “systematic racial discrimination and harassment”.

Elon Musk brushes aside these controversies with the back of his hand. “To anyone I may have offended, I just want to say, ‘I’ve reinvented the electric car and I’m sending humans to Mars in a rocket. Do you really think I’m a calm, normal guy?” » he launched on TV. The richest man in the world, who regularly claims to save humanity, has in any case not started by solving the problem of hunger. Yet he had promised that if someone came up with a plan to fix the problem, at $6 billion, he would extend the currency. The World Food Program took him at his word and sent him a blueprint for ending world hunger, within budget. The organization is still waiting for his check.

Leave a Comment