Elon Musk has confronted a top product designer who questioned whether he still had a job after being banned from his work accounts without notice.
Halli Thorleifsson, 45, believed he was one of 200 employees laid off at the end of February, after selling his company in 2021 to join Twitter, prompted by the worsening of a degenerative muscle condition.
The esteemed designer claimed in a tweet last night that, nine days later, Twitter’s head of human resources still hadn’t been able to confirm whether [he] employee or not” and that Musk had not replied to his emails.
Thorleifsson chose to include Musk in his own forum in an exchange in which Twitter’s CEO referenced memes as the designer sought clarity about his future and was asked to explain to 16.8 million people what he had been working on on Twitter .
Musk ended the exchange with two smiling emojis, and the designer confirmed that he had since been told he no longer worked at Twitter.
Musk later wrote, “The reality is that this man (who is independently wealthy) was not doing any real work, claiming as an excuse that he had a disability that prevented him from typing, but was tweeting up a storm at the same time. Can’t say I have much respect for that.
“But was he fired?” he added. “No, you can’t get fired if you weren’t working.”
Elon Musk Responds to Twitter Designer He Says ‘Didn’t Work in the First Place’
Haraldur Thorleifsson led the innovation team that, among other things, was in charge of Communities on the platform
A Twitter insider claimed that Musk is escorted around Twitter headquarters by two bodyguards
Thorleifsson told the BBC that he had joined Twitter in 2021 after selling his company, Ueno, to the site.
He said, “I decided to sell for a few reasons, but one of them is that I have muscular dystrophy and my body is slowly but surely failing me.
Elon Musk has bodyguards at Twitter HQ who even escort him to the bathroom
Twitter employees yesterday claimed that Elon Musk is accompanied everywhere by two bodyguards when he is at work.
An engineer claimed he thought Musk’s use of “tall” and “bulky” bodyguards indicated a lack of confidence.
Meanwhile, an anonymous protagonist told the BBC that “for someone sitting inside, it’s like a building where all the pieces are on fire.”
They said the office was inadequately equipped to carry out its responsibilities.
Thousands in other positions have been laid off since October to cut costs.
According to his father, Musk has a team of “100guards for his protection.
“I still have a few good years left in me, so this was a way to wrap up my business and set myself up and my family for years where I won’t be able to do as much.”
The Iceland-based designer insisted in his Twitter thread that what he’s most concerned about is whether Musk will honor the commitment to his contract and “pay him what they owe him under his contract.”
The back and forth started then Thorleifsson tweeted to Musk to say he was unable to access his work computer for nine days and that Twitter’s HR department had been unable to confirm whether he was still working for the company.
He too sought support from former CEO Jack Dorsey and two Twitter investors.
Musk replied a few hours later and said, “What kind of work have you done?”
Thorleifsson said he would have to breach confidentiality to answer, which Musk waived.
The designer explained how he had worked to save and close several Twitter contracts, prioritized design products to adapt to the company’s downsizing, taken design to the next level, acted as a recruiting manager for design roles and helped steer the company towards younger users.
Musk replied: ‘Level up from what design to what? Pics or it didn’t happen. We haven’t taken any design roles in four months. What changes have you made to help with the youth?”
Thorleifsson replied that he could not access documents because he lost access to his computer.
Musk also briefed the designer on the details of a contract and design prioritization. When Thorleifsson gave an example, Musk return smiling emojis.
Halli asked permission to explain what he had been working on, which Musk granted
With permission, the designer provided a list of some of the things he had been working on and expressed concern about getting paid
Musk questioned Thorleifsson about what exactly he had been working on on Twitter
The designer gave examples of things he was working on before Musk ended the exchange
Haraldur Thorleifsson took to Twitter to find out if he still had a job
Musk ended the exchange to share an excerpt from Office Space, where Bob Slydell asks, “What would you say you’re doing here?”
Soon after, Halli confirmed on his own Twitter page that he had been fired.
He said that after the exchange, “Twitter’s head of HR (who had failed to tell me twice before if I had a job or not) emailed and said I was no longer employed.
“That’s totally okay and it happens all the time. Companies let people go, that’s in their right.
“Usually they tell people about it, but apparently that’s the optional part with Twitter now.
“But okay, fair enough, I got fired and I’m fine with that.
“The next thing, though, is to find out if Twitter will pay me what they owe me under my contract.”
Thorleifsson spoke to the BBC about his experience of losing his job at Twitter.
He said he suffers from muscular dystrophy and was concerned about whether the company would pay him the money he says he owes.
“This is my pension fund, a way to provide for myself and my family as my illness progresses. With the richest man in the world on the other side of this line, it’s not easy for me to refuse to keep contracts,” he said.
He confirmed after the engagement that he had been fired from the company he joined in 2021
In an alternative exchange, Musk shared his thoughts on how much work his colleague had done
Earlier today, Musk replied to Alex Cohen, the director of a healthcare provider, who had written about the thread, “I’m not going to lie, this is the most entertaining exit interview I’ve ever seen.”
Musk said: “The reality is that this man (who is independent of wealth) was not doing any real work, claiming as an excuse that he had a disability that prevented him from typing, but was tweeting up a storm at the same time.
“I can’t say I have much respect for that.”
He concluded the conversation: “But has he been fired? No, you can’t get fired if you didn’t work at all!’