"I would like to apologize to Halli for my misunderstanding of his situation."
After dragging an ex-Twitter employee and then deleting some of the evidence, Elon Musk has apologized to Haraldur Thorleifsson after disparaging him publicly in front of his over 100 million followers.
The entire debacle began earlier this week when Thorleifsson, whose Ueno creative agency was acquired by Twitter in 2021, tweeted at Musk asking if he'd been let go from the company because, as the Icelander explained, nobody from human resources gave him a straight answer.
What ensued was a new low even for Musk: the CEO became embroiled in a back-and-forth tweet exchange with Thorleifsson in which he accused the ex-employee of using his muscular dystrophy diagnosis to avoid doing work and called his onetime subordinate "the worst" in a since-deleted tweet.
Now, Musk has changed his tune after claiming to have spoken to Thorleifsson, who goes by the nickname "Halli," and appears to have offered the former design director his job back.
"I would like to apologize to Halli for my misunderstanding of his situation," the Twitter CEO tweeted. "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."
While this apology and Musk's previous comments suggest that he'd been misled about Thorleifsson and his role by others at the company, lots of critics noted that there could be legal implications for the billionaire's derisive commentary.
"Surely, Elon Musk wouldn’t lay off Iceland’s Man of the Year, troll him for asking whether he has, in fact, been laid off; paint him as an already-rich, money-grubbing disability faker, in a possible violation of [the Americans with Disability Act]; and then blame others for misleading him," Bloomberg editor Craig Trudell tweeted with a heavy dose of irony. "He’s a serious guy."
We've reached out to both Thorleifsson and Twitter's communications team for comment, though we don't expect a response from the latter considering that Musk disbanded it, as is his custom, shortly after taking over the site.
Regardless of his reasoning, apologizing was undeniably the right thing for Musk to do — though of course, it would have been much better had he not dragged a former employee through the mud in the first place.
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