Twitter employee Haraldur Thorleifsson logged on to his computer last Sunday to work — and found it blocked. Same happened with 200 other employees.
He could have thought he’s out of a job — just like anyone who’s been in his shoes during the months of chaotic layoffs that have marked Musk’s tenure at Twitter.
Instead, after nine days of not hearing from the company whether he was still working there, Haraldur decided to tweet Musk directly.
“Maybe if enough people retweet, you’ll answer me here?” he wrote on Monday.
Dear @elonmusk 👋
9 days ago the access to my work computer was cut, along with about 200 other Twitter employees.
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?
— Halli (@iamharaldur) March 6, 2023
Eventually after surreal tweet exchange with Musk, he got a response.
Musk asked him about his work, questioned his disability (Thorleifsson, who also calls himself Halli, suffers from muscular dystrophy and uses a wheelchair), and wrote, that Thorleifsson has a “prominent, active Twitter account and is wealthy” and the “reason he confronted me in public was to get a big payout.” During the exchange of messages, Thorleifsson said he received an email saying he was no longer employed.
However, Musk changed his mind late Tuesday night.
“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 tweeted. “He is considering remaining at Twitter.”
Thorleifsson did not immediately respond to a request for comment after Musk’s tweet. In an earlier email, he called the experience “surreal”.
“You had every right to lay me off. But it would have been nice to let me know!” he tweeted to Musk.
Thorleifsson, who lives in Iceland, already has more than 200 thousand followers on Twitter (Musk has more than 130 million). He joined Twitter in 2021 when the company, under previous leadership, acquired his digital agency Ueno.
Thorleifsson was praised in Icelandic media for choosing to receive the purchase price in the form of a salary rather than a lump sum payment. This is because in this way he would pay more taxes in Iceland to support the country’s social services and welfare system.