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FactCheck: Did Twitter, Walmart and CNBC's CEOs resign on same day as Ghislaine Maxwell's trial?

The highly publicised trial has attracted false internet-based claims before so let’s take a look at the latest allegations.

THREE CEOS OF major US companies have been accused of resigning on the same day a highly publicised sex abuse trial commenced, according to viral social media posts. 

Ghislaine Maxwell, the ex-lover of accused paedophile Jeffrey Epstein, commenced her child sex trafficking trial on 29 November. 

According to posts on Twitter and Facebook, this coincided with the resignation of Twitter, Walmart and CNBC CEOs.

Over 120 posts of the same accusation in different iterations appeared on Facebook, chalking up over 60,000 interactions. 

The most common of them appears to be a screenshot of a tweet from a self-described ‘up-cycled parody’ account of Katie Hopkins, a controversial right-wing British commentator.

Screenshot 2021-12-02 at 13.47.59 Tweet claiming three CEOs of major US companies had resigned on the first day of the Maxwell trial Source: @Hellohowru12345 Twitter

The tweet, which was liked 38,000 times, claimed: “On the FIRST day of the Ghislaine Maxwell trial

The CEO of Twitter resigned

The CEO of Walmart resigned

The CEO of CNBC resigned”

That tweet and other posts did not offer further evidence supporting their claim connecting the CEOs, resignation allegations and the trial. 

The high-profile Maxwell trial case has a history of attracting false social media claims, the most recent of which was a bogus ‘ban’ on the press. So let’s see if the latest claim stacks up. 

What claim are we checking?

The CEOs of Twitter, Walmart and CNBC all resigned on the first day of the Ghislaine Maxwell trial. 

The Evidence 

Walmart’s CEO Doug McMillon is still firmly in charge of the US retailer. On the same day as the trial and his alleged resignation, McMillon attended a meeting with the President of the United States Joe Biden according to Reuters. The meeting involved several CEOs on supply chain issues, with the news wire quoting McMillon on the Biden administration’s approach to logistics. McMillon is titled ‘Walmart Chief Executive.’ 

On the same day as the White House meeting, Walmart’s CFO Brett Biggs announced his exit from the company effective 2023. The company’s press release quotes Doug McMillon complimenting his outgoing Chief Financial Officer, titling McMillon as President and Chief Executive Officer. There is no mention of McMillon’s alleged resignation on the official Walmart communications page. 

Walmart’s Senior Director of National Media Relations Randy Hargrove told  The Journal Doug McMillon did not resign and remains the company’s CEO and President. 

‘There is absolutely no connection whatsoever between our leadership and the trial,” he said regarding the social media claims. 

So what about CNBC? Well, firstly its CEO did not resign because the business broadcaster doesn’t have one.  CNBC’s Chairman Mark Hoffman became the company’s President in 2005 and remains in his position according to CNBC’s leadership team page.  

A CNBC spokesperson denied Hoffman had resigned, telling the Journal the social media claims were ‘categorically untrue.’ 

Lastly, Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey did resign on November 29, the first day of the Maxwell trial. The social media giant co-founder tweeted his departure email that morning. 

“I want you all to know this was my decision and I own it,” he wrote in the corporation-wide email, listing three reasons that he believed made it the right time to step down. 

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These included Twitter CTO Parag Agrawal agreeing to become CEO and Salesforce’s now CEO Brett Taylor becoming chairman. Neither Dorsey or Twitter mentioned the Maxwell trial in any communications regarding the former CEO’s resignation. Dorsey confirmed in his email that he was “going to serve on the board through my term (May-ish) to help… the transition.”

The Journal has reached out to Twitter for comment regarding claims linking Dorsey and Maxwell. 

The Verdict

Only one of the ‘CEO’s’ listed resigned on the first day of Ghislaine Maxwell’s trial which was Jack Dorsey. Doug McMillon remains Walmart’s CEO and while it’s unclear if claims of his resignation were conflated with that of CFO Brett Biggs, there is no current legal evidence of either man being connected to the Maxwell trial. Furthermore Bigg’s transition period of over a year doesn’t reflect the likely situation of an employee resigning under suspicious circumstances. 

As previously mentioned, CNBC doesn’t have a CEO, never mind one who resigned on the same day of the trial as claimed. There is no solid evidence to suggest the company’s chairman Mark Hoffmann has left his position. 

We are rating this claim as Partly False. This is because only one out of the three CEOs alleged to have resigned on the same day of trial actually did.  While Twitter’s CEO did resign, there is yet to be legitimate proof Dorsey’s resignation was related to Maxwell’s trial. 

TheJournal.ie’s FactCheck is a signatory to the International Fact-Checking Network’s Code of Principles. You can read it here. For information on how FactCheck works, what the verdicts mean, and how you can take part, check out our Reader’s Guide here. You can read about the team of editors and reporters who work on the factchecks here.

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