Elon Musk’s former Twitter lieutenant ‘surprised by his willingness to burn so much down’

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A former top Twitter lieutenant said Wednesday that Elon Musk lives inside an “echo chamber” and that she is “surprised by his willingness to burn so much down,” as she alternated between defending and criticizing Musk in a lengthy post on the billionaire’s social media network.

Esther Crawford, the former Twitter Blue product manager who drew attention for sleeping in the company’s offices only to be laid off weeks later, said that during her tenure under Musk, she found herself “frequently looking at Elon and seeing a person who seemed quite alone because his time and energy was so purely devoted to work.”

“Money and fame can create psychological prisons which may worsen mental health conditions,” Crawford added.

It was a sharp critique of a man Crawford had publicly supported during her time at Twitter. Crawford oversaw the relaunch of Twitter Blue, one of Musk’s early and hotly debated decisions at the company.

But the initial rollout of Twitter Blue was full of turmoil, complete with impersonation issues, stacked verification badges and suspended launch in some areas. Widely panned by legacy verified users, the debut also precipitated steep slides in at least one company’s stock price after fraudulent accounts disseminated false but market-moving information.

Crawford alluded to the difficulties posed by working for Musk, whom she described as having a temper that could “turn on a dime.”

“Since it was hard to read what mood he might be in and what his reaction would be to any given thing, people quickly became afraid of being called into meetings or having to share negative news with him,” Crawford wrote.

“His lack of process and empathy is painful,” she continued, adding that in her view, Musk “has an exceptional talent for tackling hard physics-based problems, but products that facilitate human connection and communication require a different type of social-emotional intelligence.”

At some points, Crawford also defended Musk, writing that his track record made it impossible to count him out. Musk is also the CEO of SpaceX and Tesla, the latter of which CNBC has reported is under investigation by the California Attorney General regarding safety and false advertising complaints.

“This may really irritate the internet but you cannot pigeonhole me into some radical position of either loving or hating every change that’s occurred,” Crawford wrote. “I escaped my fundamentalist upbringing and am a free thinker these days.”

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