The decade's most triggering comedy
Former Twitter chief legal officer Vijaya Gadde filed a lawsuit on Monday against the social media company, asking the firm to pay nearly $600,000 in expenses she made in preparation for her appearance before the House Oversight Committee.
Gadde was subpoenaed alongside former Twitter deputy general counsel James Baker and former Twitter global head of trust and safety Yoel Roth regarding their decisions to censor the Hunter Biden laptop story published by the New York Post shortly before the 2020 election. She spent more than $578,000 in preparation for a February hearing, according to the lawsuit filed alongside former chief executive Parag Agrawal and former chief financial officer Ned Segal.
The lawsuit contends that Twitter must reimburse Gadde, Agrawal, and Segal for more than $1 million in legal fees accumulated since their dismissal by new Twitter owner Elon Musk at the end of last year. “Plaintiffs have incurred significant expenses, including but not limited to attorneys fees and costs, in connection with several proceedings in which plaintiffs are involved by virtue of their former roles as officers of Twitter, and plaintiffs accordingly are entitled to advancement of those fees and costs,” the document asserts.
The executives sent multiple notices to Twitter regarding their legal fees over the past several months. Beyond the expenses related to the House Oversight Committee inquiry, other fees include some $4,100 incurred by Gadde in relation to a lawsuit in which she was accused of doxxing a Twitter user as a “white supremacist,” approximately $25,900 incurred by Agrawal and Segal over a class action securities lawsuit, and roughly $3,500 incurred by Agrawal and Segal over inquiries from the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Musk said he acquired Twitter to encourage freedom of expression on the platform. Agrawal, Segal, and Gadde respectively were set to receive $50 million, $37 million, and $17 million in severance packages and equity upon their dismissal, according to a report from Bloomberg.
Independent journalists have reported that officials leading the social media platform created blacklists, prevented unfavorable tweets from trending, and restricted the visibility of entire accounts and trending topics without informing users. Gadde, who had pushed for the removal of former President Donald Trump from the platform and repeatedly denied that Twitter covertly limited the reach of some conservative accounts, defended the work of monitoring the “health of the public conversation” during her opening statement before the House Oversight Committee but acknowledged that the Hunter Biden laptop story was not properly handled.
“In hindsight, Twitter should have reinstated The New York Post’s account immediately given the circumstances,” she said. “There is no easy way to run a global communications platform that satisfies business and revenue goals, individual customer expectations, local laws, and cultural norms.”
Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer (R-KY) cited survey data indicating that many Americans who cast their ballots for President Joe Biden were unaware of the report and would have chosen another candidate if they had been informed of the story, while Oversight Committee Ranking Member Jamie Raskin (D-MD) contended that revelations of collusion between Twitter and various intelligence agencies were “authentically trivial” and “silly.”