McDonald’s exec slams Elon Musk in tell-all email, saying tweets ‘perpetuate racism’

A senior McDonald’s executive allegedly claimed that Twitter CEO Elon Musk’s “free speech” program on Twitter had “perpetuated racism”.

According to a leak E-mail channel obtained by Semafor, executives from McDonald’s, Colgate-Palmolive and Albertsons – all major advertisers on the social media platform – raised concerns about Musk’s agenda.

UAE Minister of Cabinet Affairs Mohammad al-Gergawi (L-on stage) speaks with Elon Musk attending the World Government Summit virtually in Dubai on February 15, 2023. Musk took over Twitter in late 2022 after reducing his workforce. KARIM SAHIB/BENZINGA

“For many communities, his willingness to leverage success and personal financial resources to advance an agenda under the guise of free speech perpetuates racism, resulting in direct threats to their communities and the potential for compromise. brand safety we should all be worried about,” Tariq Hassan, director of marketing and customer experience at McDonald’s, reportedly wrote in the email.

Diana Haussling, vice president and general manager of customer experience and growth at Colgate-Palmolive likewise wrote that she was “aware of Elon Musk’s harmful and often racist rhetoric,” according to Semafor.

“While I am a strong supporter of free speech and enterprise, we cannot ignore the impact of such hate speech. I especially cannot ignore it as a black woman” , she reportedly wrote.

Kristi Argyilan, senior vice president of grocery giant Albertsons, also raised concerns, Semafor noted.

In response, Twitter’s global director of sales and marketing, Chris Riedy, thanked executives for their comments, according to Semafor.

“Twitter needs each of you, and your feedback is critical in shaping what the company can become – Elon will be in Miami for most of Tuesday and wants to hear from you,” he reportedly wrote.

“To that end, and to encourage as much healthy conversation as possible and to allow each of you to speak directly to him, how about getting this group together with Elon immediately after the session with Linda?” Riedy would have asked.

Musk is set to be interviewed April 18 at an advertising conference in Miami hosted by trade body MMA Global, where he will talk about Twitter advertisers. Last year, in a Twitter poll, he asked his followers whether advertisers should support “free speech” or “political correctness.” The poll received over 1.2 million votes, with the first option receiving 80.1% of them.

Advertisers currently provide 90% of Twitter’s revenue, and Musk said he wants the company to be the “most respected advertising platform in the world.”

Many Twitter advertisers pulled out of the platform due to Musk’s takeover. It had plunged Twitter’s revenue rose 40% as many executives disapproved of Musk’s approach to content. This involved Musk laying off most of the sales team and 50 of the engineers. Former Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal was fired by Musk at the time of the takeover.

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