Elon Musk, the billionaire entrepreneur, has publicly apologized after mocking a Twitter employee with a disability who was uncertain about his employment status at the social media giant. Musk questioned the work performance of Haraldur Thorleifsson, the former employee in question, and accused him of doing “almost no work for the past four months.”
Thorleifsson, who goes by “Halli,” discovered that he had been logged out of his work computer on Sunday. On Monday, he tweeted Musk, expressing uncertainty about his employment status and hoping to get clarity from Twitter’s HR department. In response, Musk asked what work Thorleifsson had been doing, to which Thorleifsson replied with a list of his tasks, including saving the company $500,000 on a software-as-a-service contract. However, Musk doubted Thorleifsson’s responses and accused him of using his disability as an excuse, requesting evidence in the form of pictures. Thorleifsson clarified that he has muscular dystrophy.
While the exchange was taking place, Thorleifsson received confirmation that he was no longer employed at Twitter. Thorleifsson, who lives in Iceland, joined Twitter in 2021 when the social network acquired his startup, Ueno. He has been recognized by the United Nations for leading a charitable effort to build 1,000 ramps around Reykjavik.
Following the incident, Musk issued a public apology, calling the situation a “misunderstanding” and acknowledging that his comments were based on untrue or insignificant information.
“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,” Musk said in a tweet. “He is considering remaining at Twitter.”