Who is Haraldur Thorleifsson? Twitter worker fired as Elon Musk mocks him online
Haraldur Thorleifsson, also known as Halli, is an Icelandic entrepreneur, businessman, and philanthropist.
He has accomplished a lot in his career and personal life, from creating a successful digital agency to founding a fund that builds wheelchair ramps for people with disabilities.
However, he recently faced drama with Elon Musk over his Twitter employment, which caused a stir on social media.
Who is Haraldur Thorleifsson?
Born in 1977, Thorleifsson attended the University of Iceland and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy.
In 2014, he founded a digital agency called Ueno, which designed digital products, brands, and experiences for large companies such as Facebook, Apple, Airbnb, Google, Venmo, Uber, and Walmart. Ueno was purchased by Twitter in 2021, and Thorleifsson then began working for Twitter as an innovation team leader. He spearheaded the development of Communities on the platform and the long-awaited edit button.
Besides his professional achievements, Thorleifsson has a family and often shares photos of them on his Instagram page, @haraldurthorleifsson.
He is married and has two children, a daughter, and a son. Thorleifsson is also involved in multiple philanthropic pursuits. He founded a fund that built 100 wheelchair ramps in Reykjavik in eight months, and the fund is building 1,500 more ramps in Iceland over the next four years.
The fund has received awards from The Icelandic Human Rights Centre and Reykjavik City, and the United Nations also recognized it in March 2022.
Thorleifsson has muscular dystrophy, specifically Dysferlinopathy, which causes him to use a wheelchair and slowly lose strength in his upper body and arms. He discussed his condition on his website, saying that he does not like it, but it does not change anything.
Despite his condition, Thorleifsson has received multiple awards for his accomplishments, including the Businessman of the Year Award in 2019 and The Order of the Falcon in 2022, which recognizes work within social issues. In 2022, he was also recognized as Person of the Year in Iceland.
On Monday, March 6, 2023, Thorleifsson tweeted at Elon Musk about his work computer access being cut off, along with 200 other Twitter employees.
He described his situation and asked for help, but Musk questioned his work and commented on his disability. After some back-and-forth between the two, Musk apologized for his remarks, stating that he misunderstood Thorleifsson’s situation and the information he was given was untrue or not meaningful. Thorleifsson is now considering remaining at Twitter.