Lawyers made major money from the purchase of Twitter by Elon Musk – as much as $100 million in legal fees for the on-and-off again deal – but it was the social platform’s top lawyer who has made the most, leaving the room with up to $12 million, as well as earning $17 million a year with her stock entitlements.
Gadde was fired last week by Elon Musk, along with CEO Parag Agrawal and CFO Ned Segal
Vijaya Gadde, 47, (left) regarded by some as Twitter’s top censorship gatekeeper, was the principal lawyer behind the banning of Donald Trump’s use of the network, since restored under Musk’s ownership, which also resulted in a flurry of blistering attacks upon the senior Silicon Valley power lawyer made by Musk last week.
Gadde has been accused of developing Twitter’s ‘liberal bias’ and a meme posted by Musk
based on an appearance by Gadde and her then-boss, former CEO Jack Dorsey, on Joe Rogan’s podcast “The Joe Rogan Experience” in 2019 saw Dorsey and Gadde asked about the banning of right wing voices on the platform.
podcast — that painted her as oblivious to the “liberal bias” at Twitter.
@elonmusk what’s going on? You’re making an executive at the company you just bought the target of harassment and threats.
— dick costolo (@dickc) 1651085586000
The Musk tweet as well as a critical tweet by journalist Saagar Enjeti, who called Gadde Twitter’s “top censorship advocate” who “censored the Hunter Biden laptop story,” prompted pro-Musk Twitter users to criticize her.
She aroused controversy by making decisions such as prohibiting political ads on the platform before the 2020 US presidential election.
The Twitter Power Law Move
Before joining Twitter in 2011, Gadde spent nearly a decade working at the Silicon Valley law firm Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati. Among othe projects, she worked on the 2006 $4.1 billion McClatchy Co.-Knight Ridder Inc. acquisition and acted as counsel to the New York Stock Exchange’s Proxy Working Group and Committee on Corporate Governance.
She also served as senior director in the legal department of Silicon Valley technology firm Juniper Networks before being hired by Jack Dorsey to handle her legal and policy role at Twitter.
Big Money Deals
Twitter had already seen a handful of in-house lawyers leave earlier this year—before and after when Musk initially paid $2.9 billion for a 9.2 per cent stake in the company that he apparently intends to run alongside Tesla and SpaceX, labelling himself ‘Chief Twit’.
Senator Amy Klobuchar, a leading Democratic voice on tech regulation, said she doesn’t trust Elon Musk to run Twitter and called for legislation stripping tech companies of legal immunity when they “amplify” hate speech or election falsehoods.
She earned $17 million last year as Twitter’s top legal counsel but the prospects of firing loom large with Musk as Twitter owner.
Gadde’s firing will see her probably receive a $12.5 million severance package, which includes the accelerated vesting of a large number of Twitter shares she has accumulated according to the New York Post.
But many are deeply concerned about her removal. It is a “long-term catastrophe,” said Jesse Lehrich, co-founder of watchdog nonprofit Accountable Tech. “She’s the moral compass and clear-eyed leader of the sort of decision making team there on everything from standing up to laws that violate human rights from authoritarian regimes … to making decisions on election integrity violations and hate speech in the U.S.”