By Donie O’Sullivan | CNN
Twitter’s former head of trust and safety has fled his home due to an escalation in threats resulting from Elon Musk’s campaign of criticism against him, a person familiar with the matter told CNN on Monday.
Yoel Roth, who resigned from the social media company in November, has in recent weeks faced a storm of attacks and threats of violence following the release of the so-called “Twitter Files” — internal Twitter communications that new owner Musk has released through journalists including Matt Taibbi and Bari Weiss.
Roth’s position involved him working on sensitive issues including the suspension of then-President Donald Trump’s account in 2021. On Monday, Weiss posted a series of screenshots purported to show internal Twitter documents where Roth and others discussed whether to ban Trump’s account, with some employees questioning if the former president’s tweets violated the platform’s policies.
While Musk had initially been publicly supportive of Roth, that soon changed after he left the company.
Roth has since been the subject of criticism and threats following the release of the Twitter Files. However, things took a dark turn over the weekend when Musk appeared to endorse a tweet that baselessly accused Roth of being sympathetic to pedophilia — a common trope used by conspiracy theorists to attack people online.
A person familiar with Roth’s situation told CNN threats made against the former Twitter employee escalated exponentially after Musk engaged in the pedophilia conspiracy theory.
It is not the first time Roth has found himself in the public eye.
Tweets posted by Roth in 2016 and 2017 that were critical of then-President Trump and his supporters were later surfaced and used to argue that Roth and Twitter were biased against the president.
Among Roth’s tweets was one he wrote on Election Day 2016 that read, “I’m just saying, we fly over those states that voted for a racist tangerine for a reason.”
Twitter defended Roth at the time, saying, “No one person at Twitter is responsible for our policies or enforcement actions, and it’s unfortunate to see individual employees targeted for company decisions.”
When Roth was still working at Twitter in October, Musk was asked about Roth’s old tweets.
“We’ve all made some questionable tweets, me more than most, but I want to be clear that I support Yoel. My sense is that he has high integrity, and we are all entitled to our political beliefs,” Musk tweeted.