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
updated 12:35 PM EDT, Thu April 17, 2014
The possibility of pockets of air remaining within the hull of the sunken South Korean ferry offers hope to rescuers -- and relatives -- say experts.
updated 7:45 AM EDT, Thu April 17, 2014
Despite hundreds still missing after the sinking of a South Korean ferry, reports of text messages keep hope alive that there may be survivors yet.
updated 12:14 PM EDT, Thu April 17, 2014
An Iranian mother slaps and then forgives her 17-year old son's murderer in dramatic scenes at the gallows.
updated 8:37 AM EDT, Wed April 16, 2014
Mentions of the 1989 Tiananmen Square student protests or political reform are still censored in China.
updated 5:31 PM EDT, Wed April 16, 2014
Russia's propaganda worse now than at height of Cold War, says Leon Aron, director of Russian studies at AEI.
Sanctions imposed against Russia are working as a deterrent, President Barack Obama and other White House senior administration officials said.
updated 12:40 AM EDT, Thu April 17, 2014
A lack of progress in the search for MH370 is angering the families of victims.
updated 11:09 AM EDT, Wed April 16, 2014
The searches for the Titanic and Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 share common techniques.
updated 7:35 AM EDT, Wed April 16, 2014
An "extraordinary" video shows what looks like the largest and most dangerous gathering of al Qaeda in years.
updated 11:35 PM EDT, Wed April 16, 2014
This year's Pyongyang marathon was open to foreign amateurs.
updated 8:30 AM EDT, Mon April 14, 2014
Explore each side's case, reconstructed from Pistorius' court affidavit and the prosecution's case during last year's bail hearing.
updated 1:53 PM EDT, Wed April 16, 2014
How are police preparing for this year's 26.2-mile marathon, which takes place Monday?
updated 1:02 PM EDT, Tue April 15, 2014
Katrina Karkazis
Romance is hard, for anyone. For people with intersex traits, love poses unique challenges.
updated 5:26 PM EDT, Wed April 16, 2014
The "kill switch," a system for remotely disabling smartphones and wiping their data, will become standard in 2015.
updated 6:28 AM EDT, Fri April 18, 2014
Browse through images you don't always see on news reports from CNN teams around the world.
ADVERTISEMENT