Elon Musk finally apologises to disabled worker after jaw-dropping Twitter exchange

Elon Musk finally apologises to disabled worker after jaw-dropping Twitter exchange
Elon Musk fears that he may have 'done things to accelerate dangerous …

Elon Musk has finally apologised to a (now former) employee following a jaw-dropping back-and-forth on Twitter.

The platform’s notorious CEO wrote on Tuesday night that he was sorry for his “misunderstanding” of the situation, saying: “It was based on things I was told that were untrue or, in some cases, true, but not meaningful.”

Hours earlier, Musk openly mocked senior product designer Halli Thorleifsson after he tweeted to ask him whether he still had a job, even branding him “the worst” in a swiftly-deleted tweet.

In his original post, Thorleifsson wrote that access to his work computer had been cut nine days before and, despite sending numerous emails to HR and Musk himself, he’d received no confirmation of his employment status.

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Musk replied by asking bluntly: “What work have you been doing?” before subjecting him to a brutal set of job interview-style questions and comments.

Here's a summary of that first exchange:

Later, on Tuesday, Musk accused Thorleifsson of being “independently wealthy” and doing “no actual work”, adding that he “claimed as his excuse that he had a disability that prevented him from typing, yet was simultaneously tweeting up a storm”.

In fact, Thorleifsson pointed out in a new Twitter thread, he has muscular dystrophy which has a wide-ranging impact on his body, including his hands and fingers.

“I’ll tell you what I told [HR],” he explained: “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.”

He added that he was typing his tweets on his phone because he “only needs to use one finger” to do so.

Fellow Twitter users and former colleagues were quick to hail Thorleifsson as a hard worker and inspirational leader who far from deserved Musk’s public condemnation.

Former Lonely Planet CEO Daniel Houghton wrote: “As someone who has worked directly with [Thorleifsson] during a turnaround, this is super disappointing to see.

“Not only is his work ethic next level, his talent and humility are world class. Exactly the kind of person you want on your team when the odds are stacked.”

Musk replied to Houghton: “Based on your comment, I just did a videocall with Halli to figure out what’s real vs what I was told. It’s a long story.

“Better to talk to people than communicate via tweet."

A strange thing for the boss of Twitter to write, perhaps, but undeniably true.

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