Skip to main content

AOL boss fires employee in conference call for taking photo

STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • AOL CEO Tim Armstrong was on a conference call about Patch, the local news network
  • "Abel -- put that camera down right now. Abel! You're fired. Out!" he tells an employee
  • Abel Lenz, who was Patch's creative director, later tweeted "No comment"
  • Business Insider: AOL is slashing the number of Patch sites from 900 to 600

(CNN) -- Getting the ax is hard. But it's a lot harder with 1,000 of your co-workers listening in.

One employee of Internet giant AOL was canned in a very public way because he apparently tried to take a photo of the boss during a mass conference call.

AOL CEO Tim Armstrong was on a call about the future of Patch, the hyperlocal news websites he founded, when he noticed Patch's creative director Abel Lenz and his camera.

"Abel -- put that camera down right now. Abel! You're fired. Out!" Armstrong said, according to audio obtained by the media blog JimRomenesko.com.

The call fell silent for five uncomfortable seconds. Then, Armstrong resumed business as usual.

"If, uh, you guys think that AOL has not been committed to Patch and won't stay committed to Patch, you're wrong," he said.

Lenz later tweeted from a New York bar: "No comment."

Incidentally, less than a minute before Lenz's fatal snapshot, Armstrong said he didn't care if anyone leaked information about Patch.

"I also want to clear up the fact that leaking information or anything around Patch isn't going to bother me," the CEO said. "It doesn't bother me, I'm not changing direction."

AOL and Lenz have not responded to CNN's request for comment.

According to Business Insider, the call took place Friday amid news that AOL is slashing the number of Patch sites from 900 to 600.

While some employees were reportedly expecting to hear about layoffs, no one expected to hear a firing live during the call.

Court: It was OK to fire 'irresistible' worker

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
August 27, 2014 -- Updated 0023 GMT (0823 HKT)
Wilson Raj Perumal tells CNN how he rigged World Cup games: "I was giving orders to the coach."
August 27, 2014 -- Updated 2014 GMT (0414 HKT)
A 9-year-old girl learning to fire a submachine gun accidentally killed her instructor at a shooting range, according to Arizona authorities.
August 26, 2014 -- Updated 1255 GMT (2055 HKT)
ISIS has made surprise gains in Iraq and Syria in recent months, but may begin to suffer setbacks on the battlefield.
August 26, 2014 -- Updated 1844 GMT (0244 HKT)
The fear of Russian invasion is receding but peace may still be tricky to find.
August 27, 2014 -- Updated 1228 GMT (2028 HKT)
Was a police officer justified in shooting and killing Michael Brown?
August 27, 2014 -- Updated 0815 GMT (1615 HKT)
Don't like the country you live in? Meet the people who created their own "micronations."
August 27, 2014 -- Updated 1644 GMT (0044 HKT)
The signs exist that indicate U.S. airstrikes into Syria are on the way.
August 27, 2014 -- Updated 1649 GMT (0049 HKT)
The mother of a hostage freed after two years captivity says it's not time to party.
August 26, 2014 -- Updated 0946 GMT (1746 HKT)
We asked you what you would like to know about Ebola. Experts answer some of your most common questions and concerns.
CNN joins the fight to end modern-day slavery by shining a spotlight on its horrors and highlighting success stories.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
August 26, 2014 -- Updated 0600 GMT (1400 HKT)
"I just love it when I get milk-to-dark converts," says Kerrin Rousset, before she leads a small cocoa-hungry crowd through Zurich's Old Town.
ADVERTISEMENT