Parag Agrawal trolled over old tweet on 'white people' on Day 1 of becoming Twitter CEO

Parag Agrawal posted the tweet quoting a comedian, who mocked racism and Islamophobia in America. That tweet was first picked up by right-wing website Breitbart on Monday, after which a number of users started targeting the new Twitter CEO.
New Twitter Inc chief executive Parag Agrawal.(Courtesy: LinkedIn)
New Twitter Inc chief executive Parag Agrawal.(Courtesy: LinkedIn)
Published on Nov 30, 2021 12:13 PM IST
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By | Written by Amit Chaturvedi, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

Parag Agrawal, who has taken over the reins of Twitter after resignation of Jack Dorsey, is being trolled over one his old tweets, which the users claim portrays him as a racist. But Agrawal has shut those targeting him, including some Republicans in the United States.

Also Read | Who is Parag Agrawal, the new CEO of Twitter?

The tweet at the centre of the controversy was posted by Agrawal in 2010, when he was not even an employee of Twitter. It quoted a comedian mocking racism and Islamophobia in America.

“If they are not gonna make a distinction between Muslims and extremists, then why should I distinguish between white people and racists,” Agrawal said in the tweet posted on October 26, 2010.

Picking up on this, Ken Buck, a Republican who represents Colorado’s fourth Congressional district, questioned how users can trust the new CEO of Twitter to treat everyone equally given his views.

Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee chipped in: “This is Parag Agrawal, Twitter’s new CEO and the person who’s going to be deciding what kind of speech is allowed on Twitter.”

Agrawal had, however, clarified to a user shortly after posting the tweet that he was quoting comedian Aasif Mandvi from The Daily Show.

“I am amused by people that pass judgement on people for passing judgement. I was attempting to do the same to amuse myself,” he had said in a subsequent tweet.

The latest row started after a right-wing website Breitbart picked up the tweet on Monday and inferred that Agrawal supported racism. It also reproduced an old interview given by the new Twitter CEO to MIT Technology Review, and claimed that free speech was not the focus of the company.

However, other users have defended Agrawal, including Andrew Kaczynski, a reporter with CNN. He posted the original clip of Mandvi’s interview which shows the comedian indeed made those remarks.

The 37-year-old was named the CEO of Twitter by Jack Dorsey, who stepped down after 16 years at the company that he co-founded and helmed. Dorsey said he has “bone-deep” trust in Agrawal.

Agrawal’s ascension as Twitter CEO puts him in the growing ranks of Indian-origin and Indian-born executives being named to the helm of global multinationals.

With his ascension, Agrawal has now become the youngest CEO in the S&P 500.

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Monday, January 24, 2022