Twitter is expected to announce layoffs Friday afternoon; the punitive damages phase of Alex Jones’ Connecticut Sandy Hook defamation trial is set to begin; and Kyrie Irving was suspended over his antisemitism controversy. These stories highlight the Daily Rundown for Friday, Nov. 4, 2022.
Twitter layoffs to be announced – Twitter Inc. will tell employees by email on Friday about whether they have been laid off. According to an email to staff, those emails were expected to be sent out by noon EDT.
Elon Musk, the new owner of Twitter, is looking to cut around 3,700 Twitter staff, or about half the workforce. Ahead of the layoffs, Twitter offices were temporarily closed and all badge access suspended.
The company said employees who were not affected by the layoffs would be notified via their work email addresses. Staff who had been laid off would be notified with next steps to their personal email addresses. Some employees tweeted their access to the company’s IT system had been blocked and feared that suggested they had been laid off.
Alex Jones trial punitive damages phase – Two days of evidentiary hearings in the punitive damages phase of Alex Jones’ Connecticut defamation trial over the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting were set to begin Friday. The Connecticut trial is the same one where Jones and his company, Free Speech Systems, were ordered to pay $965 million in compensatory damages.
While they haven’t asked for a specific amount, attorneys for the plaintiffs have suggested the punitive damages could be even higher. In a calculation in a plaintiffs’ court filing, attorneys said Jones’ comments about Sandy Hook were viewed an estimated 550 million times on his and Infowars’ social media accounts from 2012 to 2018. They said that translated into 550 million violations of the Unfair Trade Practices Act.
“If each of the 550 million violations were assessed at the $5,000 statutory maximum, the total civil penalty would be $2,750,000,000,000 ($2.75 trillion),” their attorneys wrote.
Kyrie Irving suspended – Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving, who garnered controversy for posting a link to an antisemitic film on his Twitter feed, was suspended at least five games without pay Thursday. The suspension came hours after Irving refused to issue an apology after it was requested by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver.
“We were dismayed today, when given an opportunity in a media session, that Kyrie refused to unequivocally say he has no antisemitic beliefs, nor acknowledge specific hateful material in the film,” the Nets said in a statement. “Such failure to disavow antisemitism when given a clear opportunity to do so is deeply disturbing, is against the values of our organization, and constitutes conduct detrimental to the team. Accordingly, we are of the view that he is currently unfit to be associated with the Brooklyn Nets.”
The suspension came the same day the FBI’s Newark office said it “has received credible information of a broad threat to synagogues” in New Jersey. The nature of the threat was vague, and the office did not say anything about who made the threat or why.
“We ask at this time that you take all security precautions to protect your community and facility,” FBI Newark tweeted. “The FBI takes all threats seriously and we are working with our law enforcement partners actively investigating this threat.”