Twitter CEO Elon Musk mocked a recently fired employee Tuesday after the employee reached out to ask if he’d been let go.
Haraldur Thorleifsson, a Twitter employee since 2021, tweeted at Mr. Musk on Monday evening asking for confirmation that he had been fired after he lost access to his work computer.
“However, your head of HR is not able to confirm if I am an employee or not. You’ve not answered my emails. Maybe if enough people retweet you’ll answer me here?” he tweeted.
Mr. Musk responded by asking what his job entailed at Twitter. Mr. Thorleifsson then detailed the work he had done the past few years, but Mr. Musk didn’t buy it.
He responded sarcastically asking for more proof before posting laughing emojis and a clip from the movie “Office Space” to imply that, if Mr. Thorleifsson did anything substantial, it was useless.
Despite Mr. Musk’s crass note drawing a negative response, he doubled down.
“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.” Mr. Musk tweeted. “But was he fired? No, you can’t be fired if you weren’t working in the first place!”
Mr. Thorleifsson, who sold his digital brand agency to Twitter in 2021, has muscular dystrophy, which severely limits a person’s ability to perform daily physical activities. He detailed many of his health issues in a thread Tuesday.
My legs were the first to go. When I was 25 years old I started using a wheelchair.
It’s been 20 years since that happened.
In that time the rest of my body has been failing me too. I need help to get in and out of bed and use the toilet
— Halli (@iamharaldur) March 7, 2023
Mr. Thorleifsson said his worsening condition was one of the reasons he sold his company to Twitter in the first place. He has trouble holding a mouse for an extended period but can still work in a part-time capacity.
“We grew fast and made money. I think that’s what you’re referring to when you say independently wealthy? That I independently made my money, as opposed to, say, inherited an emerald mine,” he tweeted.
Mr. Musk has denied having inherited money from emerald mines in Africa despite evidence to the contrary.
Mr. Musk’s tweets and firing of Mr. Thorleifsson could come under legal trouble, since the employee’s health issues were confidential.
“But as I told HR (I’m assuming that’s the confidential health information you are sharing) I can’t work as a hands-on designer for the reasons outlined above,” Mr. Thorleifsson tweeted. “I hope that helps! Let me know if you are going to pay what you owe me?”
Mr. Musk facilitated massive layoffs when he took over Twitter late last year. The loss of over half the company’s employees has created problems, including site functionality. Twitter has seen some of the largest outages in its history this year and, according to former and current employees, communication between departments has become more difficult.
Mr. Musk has also disbanded Twitter’s communications department, leaving many users and investigators to rely on his tweets for information.