New York (CNN) Elon Musk publicly mocked a Twitter employee’s uncertainty about whether he was fired in a recent round of cuts and spoke dismissively about the employees disability in a series of tweets on Monday evening. This is the latest example of the billionaire openly opposing current and former employees of his company.
Haraldur Thorleifsson, a senior Twitter executive based in Iceland, tweeted to Musk that access to his computer had been cut off nine days earlier when Twitter allegedly laid off some 200 employees. But, Thorleifsson said in his tweet, “your HR manager is unable to confirm whether I am an employee or not.”
Musk responded in a tweet asking, “What work did you do?” When Thorleifsson provided a list of his tasks in response, Musk seemed to question several points. “Pictures or it didn’t happen,” he tweeted. In a separate tweet, the billionaire said Thorleifsson “has no real job, claiming as an excuse that he has a disability that prevents him from typing.”
Thorleifsson clarified in a tweet that he has muscular dystrophy, a degenerative disease that he says put him in a wheelchair more than 20 years ago. Thorleifsson, who founded a digital branding company acquired by Twitter in 2021, has been recognized by the United Nations and the President of Iceland for leading a charitable effort to build 1,000 wheelchair ramps around Reykjavik to increase accessibility. accessibility of the city.
“I can’t do manual labor (which in this case means typing or using a mouse) for long periods of time without my hands starting to cramp,” he said. “I can however write for an hour or two at a time. This was not a problem in Twitter 1.0 since I was a senior director and my job was mainly to help the teams move forward, to give them strategic and tactical advice. .”
Thorleifsson did not immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment. Twitter, which cut much of its PR department, also did not respond.
This isn’t the first time Musk, one of the world’s richest men, has publicly mocked employees of Twitter, the company he bought for $44 billion last year. He argued on the platform with former Twitter executives, fired employees who criticized him and, in one instance, publicly denounced a former employee’s tweets about him saying that they were the result of “a tragic case of Tourette as an adult”.
The shocking sight of a business owner publicly mocking an employee highlights the unique corporate circus Twitter employees have experienced over the past year. Musk threatened to bail out the deal, then completed the acquisition only to go through several rounds of layoffs. Hundreds of former Twitter employees are now suing the company, alleging broken layoff promises and, in some cases, discrimination, including against employees with disabilities.
In the meantime, the platform seems to be struggling to stay online. On Monday, Twitter suffered one of its biggest outages since Musk’s takeover, with many users unable to access the site at all, and others having trouble clicking links or viewing photos, for about an hour. It’s the third major technical issue Twitter has faced in less than a month, as Musk cut staff from around 7,500 employees before its takeover to less than 2,000 and embarked on a series of other cost reduction efforts.
Following the exchange with Musk, Thorleifsson said in a tweet that Twitter’s human resources manager had confirmed he was no longer employed at the company.
“Which is absolutely fine and it happens all the time… They usually tell people about it, but it’s apparently the optional part of Twitter now,” he said. “The next step is whether Twitter will pay me what they owe me according to my contract.”