A top executive at McDonald’s reportedly asserted that Twitter CEO Elon Musk’s “free speech” agenda at Twitter has been “perpetuating racism.”
According to a leaked email chain obtained by Semafor, executives from McDonald’s, Colgate-Palmolive and Albertsons— all top advertisers on the social media platform — raised their concerns over Musk’s agenda.
“For many communities, his willingness to leverage success and personal financial resources to further an agenda under the guise of freedom of speech is perpetuating racism resulting in direct threats to their communities and a potential for brand safety compromise we should all be concerned about,” Tariq Hassan, the chief marketing and customer experience officer at McDonald’s, allegedly wrote in the email.
Colgate-Palmolive’s Vice President and General Manager of Consumer Experience and Growth Diana Haussling similarly wrote that she was “mindful of the harmful and often racist rhetoric of Elon Musk,” according to Semafor.
“While I am a huge supporter of free speech and enterprise, we can not ignore the impact of such hate speech. I especially can’t ignore it as a Black woman,” she purportedly wrote.
Kristi Argyilan, the senior vice president of the grocery giant Albertsons, additionally voiced her concerns, Semafor noted.
In response, Twitter’s Global Sales and Marketing Chief Chris Riedy thanked the executives for their feedback, according to Semafor.
“Twitter needs each of you, and your feedback is critical to shaping what the company can become — Elon will be in Miami for the majority of the day Tuesday and wants to hear from you,” he allegedly wrote.
“To that end, and to foster the healthy conversation possible and to allow each of you to address him directly, how about we get this group together with Elon immediately after the session with Linda?” Riedy purportedly asked.
Musk is set to be interviewed on April 18 at an advertising conference in Miami organized by trade body MMA Global, where he will speak about Twitter’s advertisers. Last year, in a Twitter poll, he asked his followers if advertisers should support “Freedom of Speech” or “Political Correctness.” The poll received over 1.2 million votes, with the former option receiving 80.1% of them.
Advertisers currently provide 90% of Twitter’s revenue, and Musk has said that he wants the company to be the “most respected advertising platform in the world.”
Many of Twitter’s advertisers have pulled out of the platform due Musk’s takeover. This had plunged Twitter’s revenue by 40% as many executives disapproved Musk’s approach to content. This involved Musk terminating most of the sales team and 50 of the engineers. Former Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal was terminated by Musk at the time of the takeover.
Produced in association with Benzinga