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Elon Musk apologises for firing Twitter employee and making comments about his disability

The billionaire said that Thorleifsson ‘did no actual work, claimed as his excuse that he had a disability’ in a now deleted Tweet.

TWITTER OWNER ELON Musk has issued an apology after he seemingly mocked an employee with muscular distophy who inquired whether he still had a job at Twitter.

Halli Thorleifsson, an Icelandic designer and philantopist, sold his company Ueno to Twitter in 2021 and became a Twitter employee as part of the sale.

He tweeted at Musk on Monday, saying: 

“9 days ago the access to my work computer was cut, along with about 200 other Twitter employees.”

He claimed that HR could not confirm whether he was still employed at the company, which led him to tweet: “Maybe if enough people retweet you’ll answer me here?”.

Musk responded yesterday, asking Thorleifsson what work he had been doing for Twitter.

The designer was given permission from Musk to share confidential work details online and after some follow-up questions Musk replied with two laughing emojis.

He went on to further criticise Thorleifsson saying: “The reality is that this guy (who is independently wealthy) did no actual work, claimed as his excuse that he had a disability that prevented him from typing, yet was simultaneously tweeting up a storm.

“Can’t say I have a lot of respect for that.”

This tweet has since been deleted by Musk.

Thorleifsson then stated:

“But the original question was if I was still employed or not since you or your head of HR haven’t been able to answer that yet. But she did just miraculously reply so I finally have confirmation that I no longer work at Twitter!!”

Musk later said that he had been in a videocall with Thorleifsson and that he apologised for lies he had believed about the Icelander.

He also stated that Thorleifsson was considering remaining at Twitter.

However, a tweet critical of Thorleifsson still remains up on Musk’s account in which he says:

“The reason he confronted me in public was to get a big payout. From what I’ve been told, he’s done almost no work for the past four months.

“Yet there are many people on Twitter defending him. This hurts my faith in humanity,” Musk continued.

Speaking to the BBC, Thorleifsson said he is worried that Musk will not honour the contract Thorleifsson signed with Twitter when he sold them his company.

“This is extremely stressful. This is my retirement fund, a way to take care of myself and my family as my disease progresses. Having the richest man in the world on the other end of this, potentially refusing to stand by contracts is not easy for me to accept,” he said.

“Companies let people go, that’s within their rights,” Thorleifsson said. “They usually tell people about it but that’s seemingly the optional part at Twitter now.”

According to the Iceland Review, when Thorleifsson sold his company to Twitter he chose to designate the sale as ‘wages’, meaning that he paid a much higher tax rate than was necessary.

He did this due to the benefits he has received from the Icelandic social system during his life, and was awarded multiple Person of the Year awards from Icelandic organisations following the decision.

Thorleifsson also founded Ramp Up Iceland, a charity which has built over 1,000 wheelchairs ramps across Iceland.

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