Twitter has not paid rent for many of its offices for weeks and is looking at denying severance payments to thousands of employees who have been laid off since billionaire Elon Musk took over the social media behemoth, The New York Times reported Tuesday.
Musk and his circle of advisers are reportedly still trying to cut costs after the $44 billion takeover in October. Shortly after the deal closed, Musk laid off about half of the company’s 7,500 full-time employees. A month later, hundreds of others left with their own offers of severance after Musk demanded that only “extremely hardcore” staffers remain.
U.S.-based employees were offered at least two months of pay and a month of severance to comply with federal and local labor laws. That deal came only after Twitter considered not paying any severance at all.
But the Times reported that Twitter leaders have discussed how the company could deny the payments it had agreed to and then just wait for lawsuits from the stiffed ex-workers. The paper added that many people have yet to receive separation paperwork weeks after they stopped working at Twitter.
(Some executives were set to receive millions of dollars upon termination, but Musk claimed they were fired for “cause,” which would void any severance agreements.)
The company has also not paid rent for its downtown San Francisco headquarters or other offices around the globe and has been refusing to pay some vendors tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. The Times said Musk’s team hopes to renegotiate lease agreements for the far smaller company, but his aggressive tactics have drawn ire from the real estate and management companies that own the buildings.
The latest details reflect the ongoing chaos as Musk seeks to remake Twitter in his own image and stem financial losses amid critiques that he vastly overpaid for the company. Twitter has already slashed a slew of benefits that are common in Silicon Valley’s tech industry. Musk has disbanded many of the teams that help Twitter navigate thorny political and moderation issues and has fired employees who have criticized him.