Elon Musk has retracted his previous criticism of a Twitter employee who was laid off and apologized for a “misunderstanding.” In his earlier remarks, the Tesla CEO had questioned the work performance of Haraldur Thorleifsson, known as “Halli,” stating that he had not been productive in the last four months.
On Tuesday, Musk tweeted “I would like to apologize to Halli for my misunderstanding of his situation. It was based on things I was told that were untrue or, in some cases, true, but not meaningful.” “He is considering remaining at Twitter,” Musk added.
A disabled entrepreneur from Iceland, Thorleifsson, got involved in a verbal dispute with Musk when he inquired about his employment. He did not respond to CNBC’s inquiries about the argument, and Twitter, which no longer has a communications department, remained silent on the matter.
On Monday, Thorleifsson, who is 45 years old, sent a tweet to Musk, stating that he had been unable to access his work computer for a few days and had yet to receive a response from Twitter’s human resources department regarding his employment status.
Is he fired?
Thorleifsson mentioned that he was possibly part of the 200 employees the company let go of in February.
Musk, a frequent user of Twitter, responded to Thorleifsson’s inquiry by asking about the nature of his work. In response, Thorleifsson claimed to have saved the company $500,000 on a software-as-a-service contract and was responsible for prioritizing design projects.
When Musk asked for more information, Thorleifsson identified Figma, a design platform, as the SaaS contract that saved the company money and said that his prioritization work was related to all active design projects. Musk replied with two laughing face emojis and later shared a clip from the movie “Office Space,” in which a character is asked, “What would you say you do here?” The movie satirizes office work culture.
After the exchange with Musk, Thorleifsson received notification from Twitter’s head of human resources that he had been fired. Musk criticized Thorleifsson’s job performance at the company, stating that he had not done any work and used his disability as an excuse for not typing, despite being very active on Twitter.
If an employee has to ask their boss via Twitter if they still have a job, something has gone pretty wrong.” Matte Monte.
Billy Markus, who co-created dogecoin and is known to be an ally of Musk, expressed his disapproval of Musk’s tweets. In a response that has since been deleted, Musk apologized and said, “He’s the worst, sorry.”
When a Twitter user claimed to have worked directly with Thorleifsson and praised his exceptional work ethic. Musk responded by saying he had a video call with Thorleifsson to clarify the situation.
Musk then apologized for his previous remarks and hinted that Thorleifsson might consider remaining with Twitter.
The U.K. and Ireland country lead of human resources platform Deel, Matt Monte, said there was a “greater need or effective internal communications.” As IT layoffs rise and remote work becomes more prevalent. The recent controversy involving Thorleifsson and Musk is one of the more unusual events to emerge in the ongoing saga surrounding Musk’s acquisition of Twitter. Musk had agreed to purchase the social media platform for $44 billion the previous year.
Since then, he has aimed to reduce costs and turn Twitter into a profitable venture drastically. This strategy has included laying off thousands of Twitter employees. In the latest round of cuts, 200 jobs were eliminated last month, according to a report by The New York Times, bringing the total number of employees down to 2,000 from roughly 7,500 in October.
Thorleifsson – person of the year:
Twitter hired Thorleifsson as a senior director of product design after he sold his company Ueno to Twitter in 2021. His company was a digital brand design agency. Thorleifsson has muscular dystrophy, which is a condition that causes muscle weakness over time. As a result of his disability, he finds it challenging to perform manual tasks for extended periods because his hands begin to cramp.
Several Icelandic media outlets named Thorleifsson as Iceland’s “person of the year” in 2022, as reported by Icelandic Review. This recognition was partly due to his sale of Ueno and his initiatives to install wheelchair ramps throughout Iceland. Thorleifsson stated that his disability played a role in his decision to sell the company, which he believed was on unfavorable financial terms, making it more difficult for him to engage in manual work.
Thorleifsson Prefered Salary
He later mentioned he preferred to be paid the deal price in the form of salary as this way; he would be able to spend more tax and provide more to public services. If Thorleifsson had accepted the money as a lump sum, it would have been considered an investment and subjected to a 22% capital gains tax. However, he opted to take it as a salary and pay the higher 46% income tax rate instead. Thorleifsson is still determining whether he will be entitled to severance pay, as he has yet to be informed by the company.
Despite this, he has expressed that he understands companies have the right to let employees go, although he believes they should communicate this with their employees. Thorleifsson has yet to reveal his next steps, but he did mention his plan to open a restaurant named after his mother in downtown Reykjavik in the near future.