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
October 24, 2014 -- Updated 0242 GMT (1042 HKT)
Successful launch of lunar orbiter, seen as a precursor for a planned mission to the surface of the moon, marks significant advance for the country's space program.
October 23, 2014 -- Updated 1915 GMT (0315 HKT)
Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, shot while standing guard at Ottawa's National War Memorial, was known for his easygoing manner and smile.
October 22, 2014 -- Updated 2006 GMT (0406 HKT)
Non-stop chatter about actress' appearance is nasty, cruel, hurtful, invasive and sexist.
October 23, 2014 -- Updated 2208 GMT (0608 HKT)
CEO's 30-min Putonghua chat is the perfect charm offensive for Facebook's last untapped market.
October 24, 2014 -- Updated 0345 GMT (1145 HKT)
Chinese leaders want less odd architecture built in the country.
October 22, 2014 -- Updated 2058 GMT (0458 HKT)
Air New Zealand's new 'Hobbit' safety video stars Peter Jackson, Elijah Wood, elves and orcs.
October 23, 2014 -- Updated 1414 GMT (2214 HKT)
A 15-year-old pregnant girl is rescued from slavery, only to be charged with having sex outside of marriage, shocked rights activists say -- a charge potentially punishable by death.
October 22, 2014 -- Updated 0333 GMT (1133 HKT)
After sushi and ramen, beef is on the list of must-eats for many visitors to Japan.
October 20, 2014 -- Updated 1607 GMT (0007 HKT)
Airports judged on comfort, conveniences, cleanliness and customer service.
October 22, 2014 -- Updated 1748 GMT (0148 HKT)
Scientists use CT scans to recreate a life-size image of the ancient king.
October 22, 2014 -- Updated 0959 GMT (1759 HKT)
Despite billions spent on eradicating poppy production, Afghan farmers are growing bumper crops, a U.S. government report says.
October 24, 2014 -- Updated 1021 GMT (1821 HKT)
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT