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
September 15, 2014 -- Updated 2232 GMT (0632 HKT)
ISIS has slaughtered hundreds. Now nearly 40 nations have agreed to take the fight to the militants. But what can they do?
September 16, 2014 -- Updated 0420 GMT (1220 HKT)
For years, Morten Storm moved between two worlds. A radical Islamist turned double agent is lifting the lid on some of the world's best-kept secrets.
September 10, 2014 -- Updated 1253 GMT (2053 HKT)
ISIS has captured the minds of a new generation of global jihadists. What does it mean for al Qaeda?
September 15, 2014 -- Updated 0851 GMT (1651 HKT)
North Korea calls its human rights a "superior system."
September 16, 2014 -- Updated 0512 GMT (1312 HKT)
In Wenzhou, called the "Jerusalem of China," authorities have demolished churches.
September 15, 2014 -- Updated 1504 GMT (2304 HKT)
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
September 12, 2014 -- Updated 0338 GMT (1138 HKT)
Treated with all due respect, volcanoes can offer some stunning vistas. Just don't fall in.
September 12, 2014 -- Updated 0522 GMT (1322 HKT)
The blogger, the hacker, the PM... and Kim Dotcom? New Zealand's election campaign erupts in scandal.
September 11, 2014 -- Updated 0236 GMT (1036 HKT)
In the aftermath of that deadly day, the enemy quickly became clear. But now a plurality of extremist threats tests global resolve.
September 10, 2014 -- Updated 1321 GMT (2121 HKT)
Soviets put stray dogs into orbit. Then, next thing you know...
September 12, 2014 -- Updated 0928 GMT (1728 HKT)
Her name is Thokozile Matilda Masipa, and she is the woman who will rule whether Oscar Pistorius is a murderer.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT