Tesla CEO Elon Musk mocked Jack Dorsey’s replacement as Twitter CEO with a photo referencing Joseph Stalin’s purges – comparing new CEO Parag Agrawal to the Soviet leader and Dorsey to one of his victims.
Dorsey announced on Monday that he would be stepping down from his role as CEO of Twitter, which he had held since 2015. Twitter CTO Parag Agrawal was named as Dorsey’s replacement and he thanked his predecessor in a post which showed the two together.
Though there did not appear to be any bad blood between Dorsey and Agrawal, Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk trolled the two with a meme on Wednesday, which showed Agrawal’s face pasted onto Stalin’s body and Dorsey’s face pasted onto Stalin’s Interior Ministry [NKVD] chief, Nikolai Yezhov.
The meme appeared to reference an infamous case of censorship under Stalin, where the Soviet leader had Yezhov removed from a photo after he fell out of favor and was executed in a purge.
Just days into the job, Agrawal has banned sharing images or videos of private individuals without their consent in what critics have blasted as a crackdown on independent journalism on the platform. Agrawal has also taken heat for old Twitter posts about religion and race.
Whether Musk was suggesting that Dorsey was forcefully pushed out of his role by Agrawal remains unclear. In a tweet earlier this week, Musk seemed to praise Agrawal’s promotion, saying “USA benefits greatly from Indian talent!”
Though Dorsey claimed in his resignation announcement that the decision was his own and that Agrawal had been his personal choice for replacement, others have suggested that Dorsey was ousted – pointing to reports from 2020 which claimed billionaire and Twitter board member Paul Singer was trying to get rid of him.