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The Boston Globe

Business

Market Basket director’s tweet draws criticism

A tweet apparently written by a director of the troubled Market Basket grocery store chain has drawn criticism from protesting workers and customers, with many suggesting it was sexist. The tweet, written Friday, was removed Wednesday night, but not before protesters captured screen grabs.

The director, Eric Gebaide, is one of the seven-member board’s three independent members. He is managing director of Innovation Advisors in New York, a boutique investment banking firm that advises technology companies. He is said to be aligned with the faction supporting Arthur S. Demoulas, whose side of the Demoulas family owns the majority of the company’s shares.

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Arthur T. Demoulas, former president of the 71-store chain and cousin of Arthur S., was ousted last month by the board, setting off walkouts in the executive suite of the $4.6 billion company, protests, and customer boycotts.

The tweet, which had garnered at least 38 responses from other Twitter users, described protesters Gebaide encountered when he was in Boston for a meeting of Market Basket’s board of directors as “much better looking than I remember.” Although the meaning of that sentence was not clear, many Twitter users and protesters who had seen copies of the tweet accused the director — or whoever was behind the account — of making inappropriate comments.

“Sexist humor from one of Arthur. S.’s cronies. shocker,” wrote one commenter.

Contacted at his New York home by the Globe last night, Gebaide declined to comment on the account’s authenticity or the meaning of the tweet. However, the account, which has been active since at least March 2011, contained several personal photos that seem to depict Gebaide. Shortly after the Globe contacted Gebaide, the tweet was deleted.

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A spokesman for the board of directors did not reply to requests for comment.

The account’s most recent tweet, published on July 30, includes a link to an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal that accuses media outlets of “romanticiz[ing]” protesters who have called for the reinstatement of Arthur T. Demoulas, the president of Market Basket who was fired by the board of directors weeks ago.

Below is Gebaide’s next tweet, which also drew angry comments from protesters:

Jack Newsham can be reached at jack.newsham@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TheNewsHam.
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