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Ear to the Ground

Twitter CEO Responds to Sexism Charge Like a Bratty Child

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Posted on Oct 6, 2013
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If ever there’s a moment to think before you tweet, it’s when you’re the head of Twitter, your company has been accused of sexism and your gut tells you name-calling is the way to go.

Twitter is about to cash in with a billion-dollar IPO and that brings with it certain extra attention.

A recent New York Times article pointed out the embarrassing fact that the social network has an all white-male board, all male investors and only one high-ranking female executive, who has had the job for just over a month. Vivek Wadhwa is a fellow at Stanford who is working on a book about women in technology. He is quoted in that article saying, “This is the elite arrogance of the Silicon Valley mafia, the Twitter mafia.”

And that’s where things get a bit bonkers. Twitter CEO Dick Costolo responded, on Twitter, of course, “Vivek Wadhwa is the Carrot Top of academic sources.”

As The Verge reports, things got better ... eventually:

The response lead to a back-and-forth with writer and consultant Anil Dash before Wadhwa himself joined in the fray. Ultimately, not much was resolved — Costolo acknowledged that the lack of female board members was a problem while appearing to dispute the meaningfulness of “checking a box” by taking on a female board member, while Wadhwa insisted that Twitter needed to take a leading role in the industry. Regardless of the points raised on both sides of the fence, it’s strange to see Costolo resort to name-calling in his first response to the New York Times report, particularly given Twitter’s leadership in areas like freedom of speech.

—Posted by Peter Z. Scheer

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