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08th Mar 2023

Elon Musk apologises to disabled Twitter worker after online row

Musk accused the worker of using his muscular dystrophy as an 'excuse'

Charlie Herbert

Elon musk

Elon Musk has apologised to a Twitter employee after he accused the worker of exaggerating a disability and labelled him ‘the worst.’

The Twitter CEO was involved in an argument on the social media platform with Halli Thorleifsson, after Thorleifsson had tweeted to Musk saying: “Your head of HR is not able to confirm if I am employed or not”.

Musk responded by asking: “What work have you been doing?”

The pair were then involved in a back-and-forth exchange, with Thorleifsson revealing he had received an email confirming her had been fired.

Musk then accused the worker of doing “no actual work,” and said he had “claimed as his excuse that he had a disability that prevented him from typing, yet was simultaneously tweeting up a storm.”

He also labelled Thorleifsson “the worst” in a since-deleted tweet.

Musk deleted this tweet

So, in response, Thorleifsson posted a lengthy thread in which he outlined the impact his muscular dystrophy has on his work and life.

He also received widespread support from colleagues at Twitter, with many wondering if Musk disclosing a private medical condition could have legal ramifications.

So now, Musk has backtracked on his comments.

Responding to some who said they had worked directly with Thorleifsson, Musk said he had been on a “video call” with him to figure out “what’s real vs what I was told.”

He then wrote: “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 added that Thorleifsson was “considering remaining at Twitter.”

Thorleifsson sold his creative agency Ueno to Twitter in 2021, and there was speculation on Twitter that the social media platform would have to pay him a considerable amount if he left the company.

According to local reports, when he sold his company to Twitter he structured the deal deliberately to pay a high rate of tax to the Icelandic government.

Last year, he was voted person of the year in Iceland by four media outlets.

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