Elon Musk has stressed he had “no choice” but to fire 3,700 Twitter employees in email, including a pregnant mother.
The businessman, who completed the purchase of Twitter last week, said the social media brand is losing $4 million (£3.5 million) a day and insisted severance terms were generous to those employees laid off in a brutal worldwide cull.
Most were told the news via email after Mr Musk, 51, promised to the press he’ll make the company profitable.
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Since the cull, the Tesla founder said: “Regarding Twitter’s reduction in force, unfortunately there is no choice when the company is losing over $4M/day.
“Everyone exited was offered three months of severance, which is 50 per cent more than legally required.”
Rachel Bonn, a product marketing employee, discovered she was out of a job after being cut off from her Twitter issued laptop.
The mum posted a picture online of her last day in the San Francisco office with her toddler.
She tweeted: “Last Thursday in the SF office, really the last day Twitter was Twitter.
“Eight months pregnant and have a nine-month-old. Just got cut off from laptop access.”
Mr Musk spoke at an interview at the Baron Investment Conference at the Metropolitan Opera House in Manhattan, New York City, just an hour before employees received the email in the cull.
Talking to the press, Mr Musk laughed about the number of enemies he had and said the layoffs should save them $400 million (£350 million) a year, and doubled down on his plans to charge verified users $8 (£7) a month.
The internal memo, sent to staff who have been fired, instructs them they are still expected to comply with the employee playbook and code of conduct while they remain on gardening leave.
It added: “Within a week, you will receive details of your severance offer, financial resources extending beyond your Non-Working Notice period.
“At that time you will also receive a Separation Agreement and Release of Claims and other offboarding.”
The firm reportedly fired 85 per cent of their employees in India and 90 per cent of those in Asia, with public relations and communications teams down to two people.
Staff in London and Manchester reportedly received the news in the same way, at 4pm local time in the UK, with many finding themselves locked out of their accounts when they woke up.
Karen Zapata, another employee, posted a picture of her laptop screen, having been locked out.
“This grey screen could have been a meeting,” she wrote.
Simon Balmain, whose Twitter profile said he was a “former Senior Community Manager” at the company, wrote: “Looks like I’m unemployed y’all.
“Just got remotely logged out of my work laptop and removed from Slack. #OneTeam forever. Loved you all so much. So sad it had to end this way.”