Many pundits, as well as friends and colleagues of recently resigned NBC Universal advertising executive Linda Yaccarino, have spoken out in the press in the few days since she was revealed to be Elon Musk's pick to be the CEO of "Twitter 2.0." And so have a plethora of Musk fanboys who see the hire as some sort of cop-out or threat to "free speech."
Some friends and colleagues of Yaccarino have sounded a little dismayed by her decision to jump on the Elon Musk bandwagon/sinking ship. She's long been in the business of courting advertisers, after all, even if that means making compromises on controversial content — because money talks, an it's what makes the media world run.
This would seem antithetical to Musk's vision for a radically uncensored platform as he seeks to roll back what he sees as the overreach of liberals, or woke-ism, or something — because naturally a white billionaire from South Africa should be our guiding authority on what constitutes hate speech and what's simply freedom of expression.
There was also a near-immediate uproar from the anti-globalist and conspiracy-minded set who called out Yaccarino's LinkedIn-documented involvement with the World Economic Forum (WEF) and the Ad Council.
It all feels like two people on a likely collision course with each other, and also the product of another of Musk's not-very-well-thought-through whims, akin to his 3 a.m. tweets.
For her part, Yaccarino posted a tweet Saturday expressing her excitement, and sounding a sort of like a 60-year-old on Twitter, which she is.
"I see I have some new followers..." she wrote, with wide-eyed and hand-wave emoji. "I’m not as prolific as @elonmusk (yet!), but I’m just as committed to the future of this platform."
"Your feedback is VITAL to that future. I’m here for all of it. Let’s keep the conversation going and build Twitter 2.0 together!"
As Deadline notes, Musk also responded to the peanut gallery — actually, one right-wing activist who immediately connected Yaccarino and NBC with the "push to normalize sex changes in children" — saying, "I hear your concerns, but don’t judge too early. I am adamant about defending free speech, even if it means losing money."
In response to another tweet from that activist, Canadian right-winger BillboardChris, who referred to gender-confirming care as the "maiming" of children, Musk replied, "Anyone who maims children should go to prison for life. This shouldn’t even need to be said."
I hear your concerns, but don’t judge too early. I am adamant about defending free speech, even if it means losing money.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 12, 2023
Right, so, Musk now claims that he's not concerned about Twitter losing money, even if his hiring of Yaccarino would seem to signal the opposite. And he remains, apparently, aggrieved about that trans child he has who doesn't speak to him and who petitioned a court last year to change her name from Musk.
The Associated Press also has a new piece today about what's called the "glass cliff" — a term used to refer to cases when female CEOs and underrepresented minorities are brought in to run companies only when they're in crisis, setting them up for likely failure. (Here's looking at you Patti Poppe, CEO of PG&E!)
"[Yaccarino] is exactly what Twitter needs to start rebuilding advertiser trust, bring back big advertisers and really start improving Twitter’s ad business,” says Jasmine Enberg, an analyst at Insider Intelligence, speaking to the AP. "That said, there are still a lot of challenges and Yaccarino is going to have her hands full from day one."
Jo-Ellen Pozner, a business professor at Santa Clara University, is a little more frank, saying of Yaccarino, "Her credentials are impeccable and she’s been extremely successful so far. But she’s also been in settings where her success was achievable. I mean no disrespect to her or to diminish her in the least. I just think that this is an impossible situation for basically anybody."
Top image: Linda Yaccarino speaks onstage during Seat At The Table on March 23, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for The Female Quotient)