The Twitter CEO had interviewed a former employee about his job, his disability and his housing needs.
If you’re not told you’re fired, are you really fired? Probably on Twitter. And then sometimes you get your job back – if you want it.
Haraldur Thorleifsson, who was until recently employed at Twitter, logged onto his computer to do some work last Sunday – only to find himself locked out along with 200 others.
He might have thought, like others before him in the chaotic months of layoffs and layoffs since Elon Musk took over the company, that he was unemployed.
Instead, after nine days of no response from Twitter whether he was still employed or not, Thorleifsson decided to tweet Musk to see if he could get the billionaire’s attention and get an answer on his Schrödinger’s professional situation.
“Maybe you’ll reply to me here if enough people retweet?” he wrote Monday.
He finally got his answer after a surreal Twitter exchange with Musk, who quizzed him about his work, disability and need for housing (Thorleifsson, whose name is “Halli”, has muscular dystrophy and uses a wheelchair) and tweeted that Thorleifsson has a ” prominent active Twitter account and is wealthy” and the “reason he confronted me publicly was to get a big payout”. During the exchange, Thorleifsson said he received an email saying he was no longer employed.
Late Tuesday afternoon, however, Musk had a change of heart.
“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 true in some cases but not meaningful,” he tweeted. “He’s considering staying on Twitter.”
Thorleifsson did not immediately respond to a message for comment following Musk’s tweet. In a previous email, he called the experience “surreal.”
“You had every right to fire me. But it would have been nice to let me know!” he tweeted Musk.
Thorleifsson, who lives in Iceland, has around 151,000 Twitter followers (Musk has over 130 million). He joined Twitter in 2021 when the company, under previous leadership, acquired his startup Ueno.
He has been praised in Icelandic media for choosing to receive the purchase price in the form of wages rather than a lump sum. That’s because he would be paying Iceland higher taxes that way to support his social services and safety net.
Thorleifsson’s next step: “I’m opening a restaurant in downtown Reykjavik very soon,” he tweeted. “It’s named after my mother.”
Twitter did not immediately respond to a message for comment.