Elon Musk apologizes for questioning disabled former Twitter employee

He later apologized to Thorleifsson, who uses a wheelchair due to his muscular dystrophy.

Updated: March 8, 2023 - 8:17am

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Elon Musk has apologized to a disabled former Twitter employee after a heated online exchange in which the Twitter CEO questioned the employee's disability. 

The tweet exchange leading to the apology began Monday when employee Haraldur Thorleifsson tweeted at Musk: "9 days 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." 

Musk responded by asking about his work at the company and a public exit interview was held in a series of tweet exchanges.

During the exchange, Thorleifsson said Twitter's human resources department contacted him and said he was fired. 

Musk then tweeted Tuesday: "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. Can’t say I have a lot of respect for that."

He later apologized to Thorleifsson, who uses a wheelchair due to his muscular dystrophy and is independently wealthy because Twitter acquired his startup Ueno in 2021.

"I just did a videocall with Halli to figure out what’s real vs what I was told. It’s a long story," Musk said. "Better to talk to people than communicate via tweet."

He also said: "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."