Elon Musk Made A $100 Million Mistake Publicly Firing An Employee On Twitter
— Updated on 27 March 2023

Elon Musk Made A $100 Million Mistake Publicly Firing An Employee On Twitter

— Updated on 27 March 2023
Garry Lu
Garry Lu

Earlier this week, former Twitter employee Halli Thorleifsson tweeted the following to the social media platform’s billionaire owner and CEO Elon Musk:

“Dear @elonmusk. Nine 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 conform if I am an employee or not. You’ve not answered my emails. Maybe if enough people retweet you’ll answer me here?”


Over the course of what is now a highly-publicised thread, Thorleifsson – previously a senior director of product design – would justify his position while explaining his disability has prevented him from working at full capacity.

Musk, on the other hand, would openly mock the Icelandic entrepreneur; going as far as accusing Thorleifsson of using his muscular dystrophy as an “excuse” for his supposed lack of productive contributions. The digital sparring session culminated in Thorleifsson receiving an email confirming the termination of his employment.

RELATED: This Brand New Elon Musk Documentary Won’t Pull Any Punches

“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,” tweeted Elon Musk.

While the majority of you may already be across all this, what you mightn’t have known is that this move could potentially cost Elon Musk, controversy magnet and C-suite memelord, a grand total of $100 million at a time when he’s been selling office plants to his remaining Twitter employees just to free up some cash.

You see, Halli Thorleifsson isn’t your regular office drone. Aside from being a noted philanthropist and 2022 Icelandic Person of the Year (awarded by RUV), he’s the founder of a creative technology services company known as Ueno.

Back in early 2021, Thorleifsson sold Ueno to Twitter with the purchase price scheduled to be paid incrementally in the form of an ongoing salary to maximise the tax he could offer Iceland; a decision the great man opted for as a “thank you” to his home country’s disability benefits.

As per a buy-out clause included in the contract of Ueno’s acquisition, however, in the event Twitter parts ways with Thorleifsson, that not-so-little bluebird is on the hook for the aforementioned sum.

RELATED: Twitter Is Now Worth Less Than Half What Elon Musk Paid For It

Elon Musk Made A $100 Million Mistake Firing Employee Halli Thorleifsson On Twitter

“I decided to sell for a few reasons but one of them is that I have muscular dystrophy and my body is slowly but surely failing me,” Halli Thorleifsson told the BBC.

“I have a few good work years left in me so this was a way to wrap up my company, and set up myself and my family for years when I won’t be able to do as much.”

Thorleifsson added: “This is extremely stressful. This is my retirement fund, a way to take care of myself and my family as my disease progresses. Having the richest man in the world on the other end of this, potentially refusing to stand by contracts, is not easy for me to accept.”

At this stage, it’s unclear whether Thorleifsson will receive his well-deserved windfall. Although it does appear as though Elon Musk has seen the error of his ways – either through some moral epiphany or a sharp nudge from his legal team who were aware of this nine-figure consequence.

RELATED: Elon Musk Has Officially Lost More Money Than Anyone In History

“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.”

Elon Musk

“You had every right to lay me off. But it would have been nice to let me know!” Halli Thorleifsson tweeted in response to Elon Musk.

Last month, Elon Musk fired another 200 Twitter employees on top of the thousands shown the door since assuming company ownership (including the entire executive team, who were unceremoniously escorted off the premise as soon as the deal was finalised).

To date, the Twitter headcount sits at a little over 2,000 workers, down from approximately 7,500 in October.

Subscribe to B.H. Magazine

Garry Lu
After stretching his legs with companies such as The Motley Fool and the odd marketing agency, Garry joined Boss Hunting in 2019 as a fully-fledged Content Specialist. In 2021, he was promoted to News Editor. Garry proudly retains a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, black bruises from Muay Thai, as well as a black belt in all things pop culture. Drop him a line at [email protected]


Share the article