Twitter’s top lawyer, Vijaya Gadde, is in the spotlight after Elon Musk slammed her in a series of scathing tweets, leading a former company executive to accuse the billionaire of ‘bullying’ and carry out a campaign of harassment.
Gadde, 47, has been a low-key Silicon Valley player for years and, on Twitter, played a key role in the controversial decisions to ban Donald Trump and remove news articles on Hunter Biden’s laptop .
After moving to the United States from India with her family as a child, Gadde and her family faced racism as she grew up in Beaumont, Texas, where she said her father had to seek Ku Klux Klan approval to sell home insurance. -door.
Now a mother of a young child, Gadde has built a remarkable career, spending a decade at elite Silicon Valley law firm Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati and working in the legal department of Juniper Networks before joining Twitter. in 2011.
Federal records show she also regularly donated to Democratic candidates, contributing more than $18,000 over the past two decades and, most recently, supporting Kamala Harris with a check for $2,700 in 2019.
A Twitter spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request from DailyMail.com on Thursday afternoon seeking comment from Gadde or the company.
As Twitter’s chief legal officer and general counsel, Gadde wields enormous power within the company, where she has long had the final say on who is allowed on the platform and what they can tweet.
In an interview with Bloomberg, Gadde once said that former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey left the creation and enforcement of content policies to him.
“He rarely weighs in on an individual execution decision,” Gadde told the outlet. I can’t even think of an hour. Usually I go to him and say, ‘this is what’s going to happen.’
Although she maintains a low profile, that power has placed Gadde at the center of some of Twitter’s most controversial moderation decisions, including the decision to permanently ban Trump after his supporters stormed the US Capitol in January 2021.
She also endorsed Twitter’s decision to block sharing links to a New York Post article based on files from Hunter Biden’s abandoned laptop shortly before the 2020 election.
As Twitter’s chief legal officer and general counsel, Gadde wields enormous power within the company.
Gadde endorsed Twitter’s decision to block sharing links to a New York Post article based on files from Hunter Biden’s abandoned laptop
Gadde caused backlash after banning Post reporting under Twitter’s ‘pirated materials policy’
The Post’s Twitter account was also suspended for about two weeks. Later reports, including from DailyMail.com, confirmed the authenticity of the laptop.
Gadde made headlines again this week after she reportedly broke down in tears as she informed her 350 employees of Musk’s successful $44 billion bid to acquire Twitter.
When political podcast host Saagar Enjeti tweeted that Gadde was instrumental in the decision to temporarily suspend the New York Post account, Musk replied, “Suspending a major news organization’s Twitter account for posting a true story was obviously incredibly inappropriate.”
On Wednesday, he doubled down on his criticism of Gadde, sharing a meme with his 86 million followers showing Gadde and suggesting the company’s decisions are affected by “leftist bias”.
But Musk’s tweets prompted a furious backlash from Dick Costolo, who was Twitter’s CEO between 2010 and 2015.
Costolo replied to Musk: “What’s going on?” You are making the company you just bought a senior executive the target of harassment and threats.
In a subsequent tweet, the former Twitter boss wrote, “Bullying is not leadership.”
Musk replied: ‘What are you talking about? I’m just saying Twitter should be politically neutral.
He seemed to elaborate further on this point, tweeting: “For Twitter to earn the public’s trust, it must be politically neutral, which effectively means upsetting the far right and the far left alike.”
Current Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal also appeared to respond indirectly to the controversy, tweeting that he was proud of “our people” who managed to stay focused despite the “noise”.
Dick Costolo, who was Twitter’s CEO between 2010 and 2015, accused Musk of bullying Gadde with his critical tweets
“I took this job to improve Twitter, make corrections where we need it, and strengthen the service,” he said. “Proud of our employees who continue to do the job with focus and urgency despite the noise.”
Although now in the spotlight, Gadde has long seemed keen to maintain a low profile. She was described in a 2020 Politico profile as “the most important Silicon Valley executive you’ve never heard of.”
Leading a team of 350, she earned $17 million in 2021: a base salary of $600,000, plus a bonus of $450,000 and nearly $400,000 in personal security. The rest came from stocks.
Born in India and having moved to Beaumont, Texas, at the age of two, she remembers her father, an engineer, having to go to the KKK to ask permission to sell insurance door-to-door.
She later said the unfair situation was what inspired her to become a lawyer.
The family later moved to New Jersey, and Gadde earned a law degree from New York University in 2000.
“I felt very strongly that I needed to be in a position where I understood my rights or the rights of my community,” she told Politico. “I never wanted to be taken advantage of.”
Arianna Huffington (L) and Twitter General Counsel Vijaya Gadde are seen in 2015
Although Gadde was previously married to fellow lawyer Ramsey Homsany, the couple filed for divorce in 2014 in what appears to be an amicable separation.
Although Gadde was previously married to fellow lawyer Ramsey Homsany, the couple filed for divorce in 2014 in what appears to be an amicable separation without children, according to court records.
It’s unclear if she later remarried, but Gadde has a young child born around 2017.
Gadde joined the Silicon Valley law firm Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, where she worked for a decade before becoming senior director of Juniper Networks’ Silicon Valley legal department.
She joined Twitter in 2011 and became co-founder and then CEO Jack Dorsey’s right-hand man, sitting next to him and accompanying him to meetings in Congress and the White House.
In October 2019, she was the architect of the idea to stop political advertising on the platform, and shortly before the election, she played a key role in the decision to suspend the New York Post account when he reported on Hunter Biden’s laptop. Twitter claimed to have violated company policy against promoting pirated material; critics were angered by the brutality and Twitter later apologized.
In January 2021, it was Gadde who called Dorsey – on vacation in Hawaii – to inform him that they were banning Donald Trump, for violating policies against incitement to violence.
Gadde is also co-founder of #Angels, an investment collective that backs start-ups and helps ensure women receive equal pay in successful companies. She is also a board member of the medical charity Mercy Corps.