Elon Musk on Tuesday publicly fired Halli Thorliefsson, a disabled Icelandic entrepreneur who started a design company, Ueno, that Twitter had acquired several years ago.
But less than 24 hours later, Musk backtracked and announced on Twitter that Thorlieffson is considering remaining an employee.
“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,” Musk said.
What Happened: Thorlieffson tweeted at Musk Monday, asking if he was employed or not, after being locked out of his company computer and accounts.
Musk demanded to know what exactly Thorliefsson had been working on, even posting a meme video from the 1999 movie “Office Space.”
The billionaire entrepreneur also accused Thorliefsson of using his muscular dystrophy as an “excuse” as to why he couldn’t work.
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The move was met with a lot of criticism. Journalist Matt Binder tweeted screenshots of the exchange, saying “there is no reason to treat someone like this.” Binder’s tweet garnered more than eight million views as of Tuesday evening.
Separately, William LeGate, an entrepreneur, showed that Twitter might be on the hook to pay Thorliefsson $100 million as part of his contract. Musk tweeted Tuesday evening that he had spoken with Thorliefsson and decided to keep him on as an employee.
It’s unclear exactly what changed Musk’s mind, but potentially the waves of public criticism and the $100 million buy-out clause were factors.
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Photo by Steve Jurvetson on Flickr
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