Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has come under fire for holding a sign stating “smash Brahminical patriarchy,” referring to the members of India’s highest Hindu caste.
Reuters reports that Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has come under fire after a photo of Dorsey holding a sign which reads “smash Brahminical patriarchy,” referring to the highest Hindu caste in India, went viral. Dorsey met with a number of women journalists, activists and writers during a visit to India recently, it was at this meeting that a photo of Dorsey holding the sign was taken and posted to Twitter by one of the attendees.
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
Dorsey received harsh criticism for the sign, T.V. Mohandas Pai, the former finance chief of software exporter Infosys, accused Dorsey of “hate mongering” towards Brahmins, stating in a tweet: “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.”
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
Across Twitter many others attacked Dorsey for what one user calls “using the language of hate and violence [against] people who constitute 5% or less of India’s 1.3 bln ppl.”
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
Do you realise that this picture has potential of causing communal riots at a time when several States are going to Assembly Elections in India. Even now an apology is not offered. Actually its a fit case for registration of a criminal case for attempt to destablise the nation.
— Sandeep Mittal, I.P.S. (@smittal_ips) November 20, 2018
— Rajiv Malhotra (@RajivMessage) November 19, 2018
Twitter India stated that Dorsey was handed the sign by a Dalit activist — Dalits are the lowest caste in the Hindu social hierarchy — and added that the poster was 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.”
Vijaya Gadde, Twitter’s legal, policy and trust and safety lead, later apologized for the photo of Dorsey holding the offending sign. “I’m very sorry for this. It’s not reflective of our views. We took a private photo with a gift just given to us — we should have been more thoughtful,” she said in a tweet. “Twitter strives to be an impartial platform for all. We failed to do that here & we must do better to serve our customers in India.”
I’m very sorry for this. It’s not relective of our views. We took a private photo with a gift just given to us – we should have been more thoughtful. Twitter strives to be an impartial platform for all. We failed to do that here & we must do better to serve our customers in India
— Vijaya Gadde (@vijaya) November 19, 2018
With India becoming one of Twitter’s fastest growing markets, the company cannot afford to offend users in the region, but it would seem that the social media platform has some strong political allies in the country. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has 44.4 million followers on Twitter, is a big supporter of Twitter stating in a tweet: “I enjoy being on this medium, where I’ve made great friends and see everyday the creativity of people.”