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The Word 'Doofuses' May Cost Ex-Yahoo CEO Bartz $10 Million

March 2, 2010: Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz gestures at Yahoo headquarters in Sunnyvale, Calif. Bartz was fired from Yahoo Monday after two and a half years as CEO.

March 2, 2010: Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz gestures at Yahoo headquarters in Sunnyvale, Calif. Bartz was fired from Yahoo Monday after two and a half years as CEO.  (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)

Former Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz's less-than-flattering remarks about her fellow board members may have just cost her $10 million.

In her first interview since being fired from the Internet giant, published Thursday, Bartz told Fortune Magazine, "These people f*ck*d me over," before referring to the other Yahoo board members as "doofuses."

But Bartz, who became the company's CEO in January 2009 and was axed by Yahoo Tuesday, may have made a costly mistake by venting her frustrations in the media.

The ex-CEO had a non-disparagement clause in her employment contact that had $10 million outstanding, sources close to the company told Fortune.

It was likely that her ridiculing "doofuses" comment would have violated that agreement, and she would therefore have to forgo the settlement, people familiar with the matter added.

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Yahoo did not react favorably to Bartz's comments, saying it believed that she now was "obligated" to step down from the company's board of directors.

In the interview, Bartz expressed her intention to remain on the board. "I want to make sure that the employees don't believe that I've abandoned them. I would never abandon them," she said.