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Former Twitter CEO Parag Agarwal, 3 others sue Elon Musk for over USD 128 million: Here's why

Filed in federal court in San Francisco, the lawsuit is the latest in a series of legal challenges billionaire Elon Musk faces after he acquired the social media company for $44 billion in October 2022.

Anurag Roushan Edited By: Anurag Roushan @Candid_Tilaiyan San Francisco Updated on: March 05, 2024 8:09 IST
Former Twitter CEO Parag Agarwal, 3 others sue Elon Musk for $128 million in severance pay
Image Source : AP Tech mogul and billionaire Elon Musk.

Tech mogul Elon Musk is facing a lawsuit from four former top Twitter executives, including former CEO Parag Agrawal, seeking over $128 million in combined unpaid severance. The lawsuit, filed in federal court in San Francisco, adds to the legal challenges the billionaire has encountered since acquiring the social media company for $44 billion in October 2022 and subsequently renaming it 'X'. 

What's the accusation against Musk? 

The other plaintiffs named in the lawsuit are Ned Segal, Twitter's former chief financial officer; Vijaya Gadde, its former chief legal officer; and Sean Edgett, its former general counsel. The former executives allege that they were fired mere minutes after Musk took control of Twitter and that he falsely accused them of misconduct, ultimately forcing them out of the company after they sued him for attempting to back out of his offer to purchase the company. 

Musk then denied the executives severance pay they had been promised for years before he acquired Twitter, according to the lawsuit. The plaintiffs say they each are owed one year's salary and hundreds of thousands of stock options. "This is the Musk playbook: to keep the money he owes other people, and force them to sue him," the former executives said in the 39-page lawsuit.

X denies any wrongdoing

X is already facing a pair of proposed class actions claiming it owes rank-and-file workers who were laid off after Musk's acquisition at least $500 million in severance, and a third lawsuit by six former senior managers making similar claims. However, X has denied wrongdoing. It should be mentioned here that the company has also been sued previously for failing to pay its former public relations firm, landlords, vendors and consultants.

X accused of taking payments from terrorist groups

Meanwhile, Musk-owned social media platform 'X' is also facing scrutiny over allegations of providing subscriptions and verifications (Blue tick mark) to designated terrorist groups prohibited from operating in the United States. According to BBC reports, the Tech Transparency Project (TTP), a non-profit organisation, discovered that X had awarded blue tick marks to two leaders of a US-designated terrorist group and several other organisations sanctioned by the US government.

The report asserts that more than a dozen X accounts belonging to US-sanctioned entities possessed a blue checkmark, which necessitates the purchase of a premium subscription. Notably, X offers premium account holders various benefits, including the ability to post longer texts and videos, as well as increased visibility. The watchdog identified as many as 28 accounts, with 18 of them receiving verification status after April 1, 2023. 

(With inputs from Reuters)

ALSO READ: Elon Musk sues OpenAI, its CEO Sam Altman: Here's why

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