Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey was on the receiving end of a Twitter storm after he appeared in a now viral photograph, holding a placard that said "Smash Brahmanical Patriarchy".
Dorsey, who was in India recently, met with a group of women journalists for a closed-door roundtable discussion on how Indians experience Twitter. However, the interaction has come under fire after one of the journalists present there tweeted a photo of Dorsey with the placard.
During Twitter CEO @jack's visit here, he & Twitter's Legal head @vijaya took part in a round table with some of us women journalists, activists, writers & @TwitterIndia's @amritat to discuss the Twitter experience in India. A very insightful, no-words-minced conversation 😊 pic.twitter.com/LqtJQEABgV — Anna MM Vetticad (@annavetticad) November 18, 2018
The trolling soon began. Former Infosys director TV Mohandas Pai accused the Twitter CEO of participating in a hate campaign against Brahmins.
As an Indian I am disappointed at Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey's 'Smash Brahminical Patriarchy' placard - will Minister @Ra_THORe pl take action for this hate mongering against an Indian community,spreading hatred? @PMOIndia @rsprasad https://t.co/TMae3DbNXa — Mohandas Pai (@TVMohandasPai) November 19, 2018
This is a country that voted an OBC to the highest office of the land with a historic mandate. Am sure @jack celebrated when Obama was elected. To pose with hate speech when you say Twitter should be a space for healthy conversation shows how hollow those words are. — Advaita Kala / अद्वैता काला (@AdvaitaKala) November 19, 2018
This is the hate group that @jack met This is a poster that the hate group made that @jack met. This is the hate that @jack preached holding the poster that the hate group made that @jack met. This is the clueless idiot that @jack was reduced to by the hate group that jack met! pic.twitter.com/yVlTCKNcrn — Shefali Vaidya (@ShefVaidya) November 19, 2018
who asked @jack to hold this plackard? or did you do it on your own? are you aware of the HUGE Brahmin hatred by evangelist in US- mainly because Brahmins are the torchbearers of Hindu tradition? are you aware that Hindu Dharma scores over faiths which must be believed blindly? — maria wirth (@mariawirth1) November 19, 2018
"Smash Brahminical Patriarchy"! If India's government had any spine, they'd have arrested racist bigot @Jack for inciting hate & violence against a community & spreading false information (fake news). The least they can do is demand an immediate, unconditional apology. pic.twitter.com/ahk3Q5PmJl — The Indian Interest (@IndianInterest) November 19, 2018
Dear @jack Time to change your handle to jackass. Sorry birthday boy, you've been punked. Can't wait to see you with a bunch of braburners holding a "Down with Jewish hegemony" poster on your next birthday. #brahminBashing #posterboy pic.twitter.com/eO5kVFFsIg — Kasturi Shankar (@KasthuriShankar) November 19, 2018
Dear @jack maybe your team didn't feel necessary to tell you this but the poster you are holding targets using the language of hate and violence people who constitute 5% or less of India's 1.3 bln ppl. If that's not hatred towards minorities, what is? Would you do this in the US? pic.twitter.com/z6OKFR82MT — HindolSengupta (@HindolSengupta) November 19, 2018
By holding that offensive poster #Twitter head @jack just proclaimed he is a Brahmin hating, racist, bigot, masquerading as a woke Feminist. And he came to India to play politics. At least the pretence is over. pic.twitter.com/5FlFHMsIxp — Smita Barooah (@smitabarooah) November 19, 2018
Total nonsense;do you expect people believe these lies? @jack held the poster,it tantamount to endorsement,has he done this any other country? Did he ask what this means?He has been fooled by the extreme leftists in Delhi;Pl do not try to cover up; you owe unqualified apology https://t.co/TeBnOGYNIT — Mohandas Pai (@TVMohandasPai) November 19, 2018
The trolling became so intense that Twitter had to issue a statement, clarifying the incident. According to the post made by the company on Twitter itself, Dorsey had been participating in the closed-door interaction with women journalists when one of them, a Dalit journalist, gifted him the poster. The company also added that the placard was not a statement by Twitter or its CEO but rather an attempt hearing the diverse voices that are part of society.
Recently we hosted a closed door discussion with a group of women journalists and change makers from India to better understand their experience using Twitter. One of the participants, a Dalit activist, shared her personal experiences and gifted a poster to Jack. https://t.co/96gd3XmFgK — Twitter India (@TwitterIndia) November 19, 2018
It is not a statement from Twitter or our CEO, but a tangible reflection of our company's efforts to see, hear, and understand all sides of important public conversations that happen on our service around the world. — Twitter India (@TwitterIndia) November 19, 2018
However, critics refused to be calmed down by the clarification.
Tomorrow if @jack is given a poster with anti Semitic messages in a meeting will his team allow him to hold it up? Why is that any different? Inciting hate against any community is wrong @Twitter @TwitterIndia https://t.co/TeBnOGYNIT — Mohandas Pai (@TVMohandasPai) November 19, 2018
The outburst has also caused further words of protest from feminists and anti-caste activists.
My Twitter feed is full of elite men hyperventilating about Twitter CEO @jack holding a sign that calls out sex-based & caste-based discrimination in India. Caste and sexism are real and virulent in modern India. If you want to be angry about something, let it be that reality. — Audrey Truschke (@AudreyTruschke) November 19, 2018