Twitter Employees Don’t Want to Work ‘for a Company That Is Owned by Elon Musk’

Photo: Glenn Chapman/AFP via Getty Images

It’s all pretty straightforward, according to the new management. In a statement announcing his $44 billion deal to purchase Twitter, pending owner Elon Musk wrote in a statement that the company’s core policies would remain the same: “Free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated.”

But in direct messages and town hall comments on Monday, the people who make Twitter tick were more concerned with debating the future of their employment — concerned that the world’s richest man would not have their best interests in mind. “I feel like im going to throw up,” one staffer told the New York Times in a direct message. “I rly don’t wanna work for a company that is owned by Elon Musk.” One employee tweeted that they were “in need of a stiff drink,” while another reportedly complained of Musk supporters inside the company: “Elon fan boys are braindead mouth breathers and we have a bunch of them at Twitter for the record. Can’t wait [until] he lays half of us off.”

At an all-hands meeting, staffers asked if employee protections were negotiated as part of the deal, as CEO Parag Agrawal and chairman Bret Taylor explained that that the site will run as usual until the deal closes in six months, adding that there are no layoffs “at this time.” Agrawal said that Musk “wants Twitter to be a powerful, positive force in the world, just like all of us” — a conclusion he came to after after speaking with Musk just a few times.

Many of Twitter’s 7,000 employees were naturally concerned about what happens to their stock options when the company is owned by a man who wants to take their company private and has tanked his other company’s shares on several past occasions by tweeting stupid stuff. At the all-hands, the New York Times reports that Agrawal told employees that stock options would convert to cash when the deal is finalized in three to six months; employees would keep getting bonuses according to the company’s vesting schedule and would receive the same benefits for a year after the deal is finalized.

At a company where some staffers make close to half of their total compensation off stock options, employees reportedly worried that they would not have access to the long-run appreciation of the stock; some were also concerned that the value of their initial shares could plummet if Musk succeeds in taking Twitter private. Other questions remained: Would the company move from San Francisco to join Musk in Austin? Will they actually have to go back to the office? What will happen to the platform’s moderation policies when the buyer who hates its moderation policies takes over? And what is going to happen to the Trump ban?

At the company meeting, Agrawal did not provide much clarity on the big-picture stuff. “Once the deal closes, we don’t know what direction this company will go in,” he said. But at least one employee found some humor in his precarious situation:

Twitter Employees ‘Don’t Wanna Work’ for Elon Musk