Elon Musk Walks Back Comments About Halli After Twitter Exchange

halli haraldur þorleifsson twitter

Elon Musk has walked back some of his comments regarding Haraldur Þorleifsson, better known as Halli, after a contentious exchange yesterday, March 7.

Twitter layoffs

The exchange followed Halli’s termination at Twitter during the latest in the large-scale layoffs since Mr. Musk’s acquisition of the social media platform. After he was locked out of his work accounts, Halli was unable to get a clear statement from Twitter HR about the status of his employment. He opted instead to contact Mr. Musk directly over social media.

In the ensuing thread, Mr. Musk cast doubt on Halli’s disability, and accused Halli of not working.

A partial apology

Following his statements, however, Mr. Musk has walked back some of his statements.

In the wake of the exchange, Mr. Musk stated: “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.”

Some commentators have also pointed out that identifying Halli’s disability publicly violates American labour laws.

While not all details of the Ueno sale were made public, Halli purposely chose to receive the sale price as wages in order to pay higher tax on it in Iceland. Likely due to this arrangement, Halli was reportedly on a “do not fire list” at the social media company. If Halli is indeed terminated, Twitter is likely still obligated to pay him out.

At the time of writing, it is unclear whether Halli will remain at Twitter.

Halli has called the entire exchange “surreal” on social media.

Elon Musk and Halli Spar Over Termination at Twitter

Haraldur Þorleifsson

Elon Musk, the owner of Twitter, entered into a fiery Twitter debate with Icelandic entrepreneur and philanthropist Haraldur Þorleifsson, who was laid off from the company last month. Musk implied that Haraldur, known as Halli, had not been fulfilling his job requirements at Twitter, while Halli asked whether Twitter would pay him the severance the company owes him now that he has been let go.

Laid off without being told about it

At the end of February, Halli deduced he had been laid off from Twitter when he was no longer able to log into his workstation with his Twitter credentials. His job was one of many casualties in the latest of several layoffs at the company, which has gone from 7,500 employees to under 2,000 since Musk took ownership. Although he could no longer access his workstation, Halli stated that the head of HR was not able to confirm whether he was an employee or not.

All other options exhausted, Halli resorted to tweeting at Elon Musk directly, asking for answers.

Haraldur did receive a reply from Musk, who asked “What work have you been doing?” When Haraldur replied, Musk seemed to make little of his work, responding with crying laughing emojis.

In a reply to another user’s comment, Musk accused Haraldur of not fulfilling his job requirements and lying about his disability.

Haraldur has since responded to that tweet with a long thread explaining his condition as well as his wealth, acquired when he sold his company, Ueno, to Twitter in 2021.

The proceeds of the sale of Ueno rocketed Halli to the top of Iceland’s list of highest taxpayers, where he has also gained recognition as one of Iceland’s most active philanthropists. Among his philanthropic projects is Ramp Up, a non-profit building accessibility ramps throughout the country.

Haraldur swept Iceland’s person of the year awards in 2022 being awarded the honour by four separate media outlets.

Read More: Man of the Year

Twitter’s HR department has since reached out to Halli confirming he has been laid off.