4 Former Twitter Executives Sue Elon Musk for $128m in Unpaid Severance

March 5, 2024 - Reading time: 2 minutes

Elon Musk is facing legal action from four former Twitter executives who claim he failed to pay them severance after purchasing the social media platform.

The lawsuit, filed on Monday in California, follows a separate complaint last year by rank-and-file employees seeking $500m in unpaid severance.

The suit alleges that Musk dismissed the four plaintiffs - Twitter's former CEO Parag Agrawal, CFO Ned Segal, general counsel Sean Edgett and chief legal officer Vijaya Gadde - without reason after a series of mass layoffs following his $44bn acquisition of Twitter in 2022. The executives claim that Musk made up false reasons for their termination to avoid paying severance benefits.

Musk's decision not to pay the severance led to the lawsuit, which accuses him of firing the plaintiffs without reason and then appointing employees from his various companies to support this decision. The complaint states that Musk claimed each executive committed "gross negligence" and "willful misconduct," but did not provide any evidence for these claims.

This lawsuit is one of several legal actions related to Musk's takeover of Twitter and subsequent management of the platform, which he renamed X. The National Labor Relations Board also filed a complaint earlier this year alleging that SpaceX, another company owned by Musk, illegally fired eight workers for criticizing his leadership.

Since acquiring Twitter, the site has faced numerous challenges, including declining ad revenues and increased hate speech as content moderation efforts were rolled back. Musk originally tried to withdraw from the acquisition but was forced to complete it after Twitter sued him. He blames the decline in advertising revenue on anti-hate monitoring groups that published reports detailing racist and extremist content on the platform, leading him to file lawsuits against two of these organizations, Media Matters and the Center For Countering Digital Hate.

A California judge is expected to decide this week whether to dismiss the suit against the Center For Countering Digital Hate.

DW Staff

David Lintott is the Editor-in-Chief, leading our team of talented freelance journalists. He specializes in covering culture, sport, and society. Originally from the decaying seaside town of Eastbourne, he attributes his insightful world-weariness to his roots in this unique setting.