Senior journalist Barkha Dutt condemned Twitter India on Tuesday night for the “lies” and “poor handling” of the “interaction’’ at Twitter’s roundtable meet that led to an online backlash, cornering social media giant Jack Dorsey for posing with a controversial poster.
A photograph, with Twitter CEO Dorsey in it, was tweeted out by journalist Anna MM Vetticad on Sunday where he is seen with a poster in his hand that reads, “Smash Brahminical Patriarchy’’.
Dorsey’s decision to pose with the said poster in tow, at a roundtable discussion with Indian women journalists and activists, has landed him in hot soup by virtue of the arguably sensitive social issues attached to what the poster implies.
While Twitter has been flooded with retaliations, counter-theories, and breakdowns related to the phrasing “brahminical patriarchy’’, Barkha Dutt, one of the senior journalists present at the meet, tweeted out her account, claiming that the “lies’’ by Twitter India reps are making her angry since Vijaya Gadde, Policy Head at Twitter India , had “apologised and even cried” for “being tone deaf on caste bias’’ during the roundtable discussion. But her apology, Dutt claims, is the “exact opposite”. Contrary to Gadde’s claim of of the photo being “private”, the “photo (was) taken & mailed to us by Twitter, ’’ she further explains.
Dutt says that many of the women in the group had not seen the contents of the poster- gifted to Dorsey by a Dalit activist - till much later. She reveals that the decision to pose with the poster was that of the Twitter CEO alone- “that decision was his & his alone”.
Here’s Dutt’s entire account of what transpired last week and her take on what was written on the poster:
Watching how poorly @TwitterIndia has handled its meeting with a group of women journalists & more so, because it has been so dishonest about it, I am taking the unusual step of sharing some details about what happened from my perspective, at the meeting w/ @jack @vijaya— barkha dutt (@BDUTT) November 20, 2018
We were invited to share our experience of abuse & trolling on @TwitterIndia & given few minutes each to make our points. I focused mine on organized bullying, rape threats etc. A Dalit activist spoke of how Caste Slurs were not part of Twitter's Report Abuse parameters— barkha dutt (@BDUTT) November 20, 2018
When the Dalit activist pointed out that Caste was to India what Race is to America & asked why Twitter did not see caste slurs as abuse @vijaya broke into tears and apologized to this invitee. We were all a bit taken aback but reassured that Twitter was sincere— barkha dutt (@BDUTT) November 20, 2018
I did not see any poster at the group conversation either before the meeting, during it or after. As we were walking out some folks mentioned a photo. Some of the invitees did not want to be photographed, others like myself didnt care. I did not notice any poster in @jack hand— barkha dutt (@BDUTT) November 20, 2018
It is important to note that the photo itself was both taken by and mailed to the group by a staff member of @TwitterIndia & we were specifically encouraged to tweet it. I did not but want to underline that @vijaya is untruthful in calling it a "private photo" given who sent it— barkha dutt (@BDUTT) November 20, 2018
Since @TwitterIndia reps cried & apologized to the Dalit activist for its platform enabling caste bias, I assume she gifted @jack the poster. But from everything I know now she never asked @jack to pose with it. That decision was his & his alone.— barkha dutt (@BDUTT) November 20, 2018
While I had no knowledge of the poster, Brahminical Patriarchy is a fair & entirely mainstream phrase in the way that we now know the intersectionality of Feminism & the critique of upper caste hegemony. It is NOT an attack on Brahmins but on hierarchy much like White Privilege— barkha dutt (@BDUTT) November 20, 2018
The wilful distortion of the phrase Brahminical Patriarchy is unfair & untruthful. As a woman of privilege I am not in a position to tell a Dalit woman that her experience of gender & caste bias is not legitimate.— barkha dutt (@BDUTT) November 20, 2018
While Brahminical Patriarchy is a phrase about bias of caste & misogny combining, personally I would not have knowingly posed with @jack holding that poster because he clearly does not know India, caste fault lines & above all he is an outsider to our country & internal issues— barkha dutt (@BDUTT) November 20, 2018
So while I am happy to debate Brahminical Patriarchy I do not think @jack or @twitter had any basis to get into it with the poster. That said, it reflects on Twitters poor handling of the interaction, lack of briefing to @jack @vijaya, mailing us the photo, urging us to tweet it— barkha dutt (@BDUTT) November 20, 2018
What angers me is lies by @Twitter : @vijaya apologised & cried for being tone deaf on caste bias; in public her apology exact opposite. She says photo private. Photo taken & mailed to us by Twitter. Twitter fails to brief @jack; then transfers blame to women invited. SHOCKING— barkha dutt (@BDUTT) November 20, 2018
Upper Caste bias & sexism not separate for millions of Dalit women. That is Brahminical Patriarchy for them. Yet I would not have posed with @jack holding poster. He chose to hold it himself. Photo was mailed by Twitter Staff. @vijaya said one thing in private, another in public— barkha dutt (@BDUTT) November 20, 2018
Finally @jack @vijaya - you got a taste of what many, strong, opinionated women go through everyday. Unlike some of us who stand up to bullying and hold our own, you guys played all sides & were truthful to none, So I broke my silence. But nice you got a taste of your own meds :)— barkha dutt (@BDUTT) November 20, 2018
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