Twitter CEO Elon Musk has some deep, unprocessed resentment for employees of the social media platform he bought and is currently dismantling.
Sometimes it bubbles to the surface. Most recently, the billionaire CEO got a kick out of cutting off and personally insulting a Twitter employee who dared to ask whether he'd been laid off after his access was cut off — while Musk's fans cheered him on.
In short, it's the kind of blood sport we've come to expect from the richest man in the world, who rules his many businesses with an infamously ruthless management style.
Musk publicly shamed former Twitter employee Haraldur Thorleifsson in front of his well over 100 million followers, telling him his contributions to Twitter amounted to nothing.
"Nine days ago the access to my work computer was cut, along with about 200 other Twitter employees," Thorleifsson wrote in a tweet directed at Musk. "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 replied on Twitter, asking Thorleifsson what "work you have been doing?" Thorleifsson reasonably suggested he would be breaking confidentiality by explaining his contributions, but Musk chose to publicly drag him into the gladiator ring to humiliate him for the world to see, going as far as to laugh in his face after he explained his role at Twitter.
To be clear, even for a personality that has shown little remorse or any appreciation for his employees, it's a new low for Musk. The exchange puts his scorn and utter lack of respect for other human beings that he deems below him on full display.
Thorleifsson is only one of many thousands of workers that were unceremoniously laid off by Twitter since Musk took over the reins. Musk even promised he was done laying off Twitter employees, but broke his word several times since.
Worse yet, Musk took aim at Thorleifsson's disability, arguing he used it as an "excuse," an atrocious personal affront.
Thorleifsson has been in a wheelchair for 20 years due to muscular dystrophy, he explained, something that has "many effects on my body."
"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 tweeted in response to another user calling the CEO's troubling exchange with Thorleifsson "the most entertaining exit interview I've ever witnessed."
Musk doubled down.
"But was he fired?" he added. "No, you can’t be fired if you weren’t working in the first place!"
Even some of Musk's most ardent followers were appalled by the comments, calling them "shockingly uncaring/cruel."
Critics were equally taken aback.
"Forcing an employee trying to get paid to prove their worth in front of 100 million people," video game developer and political activist Brianna Wu tweeted. "Mocking their work. Mocking their disability. If you don’t understand Musk is a horror show, something is fundamentally broken inside you."
Yet the replies following Musk's vile utterings are full of other users justifying his calls for firing disabled people for not being as productive.
At this point, Thorleifsson is only looking to get paid as Twitter, as he says the company still owes him according to his contract.
"Let me know if you are going to pay what you owe me?" he wrote. "I think you can afford it?"
The fired employee did at least have the last laugh.
"Oh! I forgot to mention that I read you can't go to the toilet on your own either," Thorleifsson wrote, referring to Musk being accompanied to the bathroom by several bodyguards at Twitter HQ.
"I'm sorry to hear about that," he added. "I know the feeling. The only difference is I can't do it because of a physical disability and you're afraid someone you hurt will attack you while you poop."
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