Elon Musk fired four of Twitter’s executives just hours after taking ownership of the company on Thursday. One of those executives was crucial in the choice to remove Donald Trump, who was the president at the time, from the platform.
The committee that decided whether to ban Trump was headed by Vijaya Gadde, Twitter’s top legal and policy executive at the time, according to a January 2021 article from The Washington Post.
On January 8, 2021, Twitter suspended Trump indefinitely due to “the potential of additional instigation of violence” following the melee at the Capitol.
In relation to the Trump ban, Gadde was one of the primary decision-makers. According to The New York Times, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey was on vacation at the time on a private island.
When asked about the role she played in banning Trump, a Twitter spokesperson told CNN Business in October 2021 that decisions regarding bans are made by the Trust and Safety team, which reported to Gadde. Gadde was also tasked with asking her Twitter colleagues to have patience while they decided what to do with Trump, per The Post. The former president was slapped with a permanent Twitter ban less than three hours after Gadde held the emergency meeting, The Post reported. Gadde worked for Twitter for more than 11 years, her LinkedIn profile shows. She joined the company in July 2011 as a legal director.
The other executives Musk fired on Thursday include Twitter’s CEO, Parag Agrawal, chief financial officer Ned Segal, and general counsel Sean Edgett. The fired executives stand to make a total of $88 million in payouts. It’s unclear if Musk fired Gadde because of her role in the decision to ban Trump. Gadde, Musk, and representatives for Twitter did not immediately respond to Insider’s requests for comment. Musk said in May that he would reverse Twitter’s Trump ban, saying that booting Trump off Twitter was a “morally bad decision” and “foolish in the extreme.”
According to the Associated Press, Musk added, “I think that was a mistake because it alienated a significant portion of the public and did not ultimately result in Donald Trump not having a voice.”
The former president has declared he won’t join Twitter again. That might alter, though, given that Trump’s primary method of communication while president was Twitter. More than 88 million people were following the “@realDonaldTrump” account when it was permanently terminated by Twitter in January 2021.
Trump now has a personal social media platform called Truth Social. According to a regulatory filing made in May, the former president has vowed to publish on Truth Social before any other social media platform.