If you’re not told you are fired, are you really fired? At Twitter, probably. And then, sometimes, you get your job back if you want it.
Haraldur Thorleifsson (‘Halli’) locked out of his computer
Haraldur Thorleifsson, (who goes by “Halli”), who until recently was employed at Twitter, logged in to his computer last Sunday (March 5) to do some work, only to find himself locked out, along with 200 others.
He might have figured, as others before him have in the chaotic months of layoffs and firings since Elon Musk took over the company, that he was out of a job.
For nine days, no news from Twitter about his employment status
Instead, after nine days of no answer from Twitter as to whether or not he was still employed, Thorleifsson decided to tweet at Musk to see if he could catch the billionaire’s attention and get an answer to his Schrödinger’s job situation.
Twitter exchange between Halli and Musk
“Maybe if enough people re-tweet, you’ll answer me here?” Halli wrote on Monday (March 6).
Also read: Elon Musk introduces new ‘Twitter CEO’; internet can’t stop ROFLing
Eventually, he got his answer after a surreal Twitter exchange with Musk, who proceeded to quiz him about his work, question his disability and need for accommodations (Thorleifsson has muscular dystrophy and uses a wheelchair), and a tweet 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.”
Hi again @elonmusk 👋
I hope you are well.
I’m fine too. I’m thankful for your interest in my health.
But since you mentioned it, I wanted to give you more info.
I have muscular dystrophy. It has many effects on my body.
Let me tell you what they are: https://t.co/2vb16kP6Yv
— Halli (@iamharaldur) March 7, 2023
Halli receives email from Twitter that he was fired
While the exchange was going on, Thorleifsson said he received an email that he was no longer employed.
Musk has a change of heart
Late Tuesday afternoon (March 7), 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, in some cases, true, but not meaningful,” he tweeted. “He is considering remaining at Twitter.”
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 is considering remaining at Twitter.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 7, 2023
Thorleifsson did not immediately respond to a message for comment following Musk’s tweet. In an earlier email, he called the experience “surreal.”
Also read: Elon Musk’s management style: Some call it effective, others call it toxic
“You had every right to lay me off. But it would have been nice to let me know!” he tweeted to Musk.
Halli’s company was acquired by Twitter in 2021
Thorleifsson, who lives in Iceland, has about 151,000 Twitter followers (Musk has over 130 million). He joined Twitter in 2021, when the company, under the prior management, acquired his startup Ueno.
Also read: Two women sue Musk’s Twitter alleging discriminatory layoffs
He was lauded in Icelandic media for choosing to receive the purchase price in wages rather than a lump sum payout. That’s because this way, he would pay higher taxes to Iceland in support of its social services and safety net.
Halli is an award winning designer whose company was acquired by Twitter.
Halli was born with muscular dystrophy in a working class family. He chose a higher tax rate for the sale to pay back into the Icelandic social system.
Today, Elon Musk publicly mocked and fired him. https://t.co/tUSaxZ4oYL pic.twitter.com/GREC8cgLtx
— Max Berger (@maxberger) March 7, 2023
Halli’s next plans
Thorleifsson’s next move: “I’m opening a restaurant in downtown Reykjavik very soon,” he tweeted. “It’s named after my mom.”
Twitter did not immediately respond to a message for comment.
(With agency inputs)