It wouldn’t be Twitter if there wasn’t a new controversy about some decade-old tweets.
Just hours after Twitter founder and former CEO Jack Dorsey announced his resignation from the company, there’s already new drama surrounding its new CEO, Parag Agrawal, and an old post he made on the platform.
“If they are not gonna make a distinction between muslims and extremists, then why should I distinguish between white people and racists,” tweeted Agrawal in quotes on Oct. 26, 2010.
That’s right. October 2010. This 11-year-old tweet is currently making the rounds in right-wing Twitter circles. Conservative users on the platform are expressing outrage over the tweet.
However, those criticizing Twitter’s new CEO – as of just a few hours ago – don’t seem to realize Agrawal is quoting an episode of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart that aired that very night in 2010.
The nearly 10-minute segment on NPR’s firing of Juan Williams, “NPR Staffing Decision 2010,” is still available to stream on Comedy Central’s website.
The quote Agrawal tweeted comes at the tail end of the segment, during a panel with former host Jon Stewart and comedians Larry Whilmore and Aasif Mandvi.
“If they’re not going to make a distinction between Muslims and violent extremists then why should I take the time to distinguish between decent, fearful white people and racists?” jokes Mandvi, eliciting laughter from the audience.
In addition, in a follow-up tweet on Twitter that same night, Agrawal replied to another user to explain that The Daily Show is exactly what he was quoting.
Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal’s 2010 explanation as to where his quote was from.
Credit: Mashable Screenshot
“I was quoting Asif Mandvi [sic] from The Daily Show,” he tweeted less than 20 minutes after the now-controversial Oct. 26 tweet.
Regardless, the tweet continues to be circulated without context. One archived version of the tweet taken at 11:24 a.m. on Monday shows that the tweet had 3 retweets, 9 quote tweets, and 3 likes when first dug up today.
As of the publishing of this post, Agrawal’s tweet now has 2,432 retweets, 5,453 quote tweets, and 4,623 likes.
“This is Parag Agrawal, Twitter’s new CEO and the person who’s going to be deciding what kind of speech is allowed on Twitter,” tweeted Senator Marasha Blackburn (R-TN) while quote tweeting Agrawal’s old post.
Right-wing media outlets like Brietbart picked up on the tweet, declaring it to be “anti-white racism” while at the same time admitting “it was unclear who he was quoting.”
The message of Agrawal’s tweet and Mandvi’s initial joke appears to go over every critics’ head: Of course not all white people are racist and that exact sentiment should be extended to Muslims when it comes to Islamophobic stereotypes regarding terrorism as well.
Welcome to your first day as CEO at Twitter dot com, Parag Agrawal!