Supporters of Twitter CEO Elon Musk have come after a disabled ex-employee of the company after the billionaire revealed that he had been let go.
The incident began on Monday when Haraldur Thorleifsson, the founder of a company that was acquired by Twitter in 2021, noted that he had been locked out of his work computer for more than a week.
Despite repeated attempts to contact both the human resources department and Musk himself, Thorleifsson says he was left with no choice but to tweet at the billionaire in order to learn the status of his employment.
“Dear @elonmusk,” he wrote. “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?”
Musk eventually responded by demanding to know what exactly Thorleifsson did at the company. After a short back-and-forth, Thorleifsson detailed his accomplishments at the business prior to being locked out unexpectedly.
In response, Musk demanded to see pictures showcasing Thorleifsson’s work before he stopped responding altogether.
When another Twitter user noted how hilarious they thought Musk’s interaction was with Thorleifsson, who still hadn’t been told the status of his employment, the Twitter CEO accused the ex-employee of using his disability to get out of working.
“The reality is that this guy (who is independently wealthy) did no actual work, claimed as his excuse that he had a disability that prevented him from typing, yet was simultaneously tweeting up a storm,” Musk wrote. “But was he fired? No, you can’t be fired if you weren’t working in the first place!”
In a tweet that has since been liked more than 100,000 times, Thorleifsson shot back by explaining his disability to Musk.
“Hi again @elonmusk,” he began. “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.”
In an ensuing thread, Thorleifsson details how he lost the ability to use his legs at the age of 25 and started using a wheelchair. Sometime after, his arms began to lose strength as well.
Thorleifsson delved deeper into his disability in an effort to address Musk’s claims that he somehow couldn’t work but could still tweet.
“And now finally to my fingers, which I know you have great concern for. Thank you for that btw,” he said. “I’ll tell you what I told them. I’m not able to do manual work (which in this case means typing or using a mouse) for extended periods of time without my hands starting to cramp.”
The ex-employee also noted that using his phone to tweet was much easier given that he only needed one finger to do so.
Despite simply asking to be informed whether or not he had been fired, Thorleifsson’s public conversation with Musk led the billionaire’s supporters to target him for ridicule.
In numerous examples across the platform, users accused Thorleifsson of using his handicap to get hired.
Others chimed in to side with Musk’s assessment of Thorleifsson as well.
“Common theme here: firing overpaid founders that resulted from Twitter acquisitions,” one user wrote. “Paying these guys top salaries to sit around, have minimal impact is part of the cost of the acquisition though. If there was a signed contract I don’t see that @elonmusk will get out of paying.”
While many of Musk’s supporters found the interaction humorous, many Twitter users appeared to side with the fired employee and called for him to immediately retain a lawyer.
Some accused Musk of openly admitting that he had fired the man due to his disability.
“Did you just fire a guy for having muscular dystrophy?” a user asked.
Many also suggested that Musk had actually violated health privacy laws by revealing his difficulty in typing.
“Dude pretty sure you can’t legally dox a former employee’s disability like this… whether you believe in it or not…” another said.
While many of Musk’s remarks remain online, the Twitter CEO opted to delete at least one tweet in which he referred to the former employee as “the worst.”
The Daily Dot attempted to reach out to Thorleifsson over email and Twitter DM but did not receive a reply by press time.
It remains unclear what actions, if any, Thorleifsson will take moving forward. The ex-employee has asked Musk whether he is “going to pay” him what he is owed.
Sign up to receive the Daily Dot’s Internet Insider newsletter for urgent news from the frontline of online.Source: https://www.dailydot.com/debug/elon-musk-twitter-disabled-ex-employee-harassed/