Twitter Chief Executive Jack Dorsey felt the swift backlash of social media after a photo of him holding a sign attacking the Indian caste system made its way online.
The tweet showed a grinning Dorsey holding a sign — while posing for a photo with female journalists and activists — that read “smash Brahminical patriarchy,” referring to the highest Hindu caste.
Several prominent Indians, including Infosys executive TV Mohandas Pai, accused Dorsey of “hate mongering” against Brahmins.
“Tomorrow if @jack is given a poster with anti Semitic messages in a meeting, will his team allow him to hold it up?” Pai tweeted. “Why is that any different? Inciting hate against any community is wrong.”
Twitter India’s office said the poster was handed to Dorsey by a Dalit activist — Dalits are at the bottom of the social hierarchy in Hinduism — while he hosted a closed-door discussion with a group of women to know more about their experience using Twitter.
It added the poster was a “tangible reflection of our company’s efforts to see, hear, and understand all sides of important public conversations that happen on our service around the world.”
Late Monday, Vijaya Gadde, chief legal officer at Twitter, who accompanied Dorsey to India, apologized.
“I’m very sorry for this. It’s not reflective of our views. We took a private photo with a gift just given to us — we should have been more thoughtful,” she said in a tweet.
Twitter, whose recent monthly active users globally averaged 326 million, does not disclose the number of its India users, but the country is one of its fastest-growing markets.
Its use is expected to grow in India as political parties in the country of 1.3 billion try to expand their reach to voters ahead of a general election in May.