A Patch employee was allegedly fired by AOL's CEO, Tim Armstrong, for taking his camera out during a conference call meeting where Armstrong announced he was going to lay off Patch employees over the next seven days, according to a report on Jim Romenesko's website.
The employee is reportedly a creative director, Abel Lenz. Three minutes into the conference call, the employee pulled out his camera in the New York meeting room. According an anonymous tipster who contacted Romenesko, this is what happened:
"Abel, put that camera down. You're fired. Out," Armstrong said. After a pause of about five seconds, he then continued the call as though nothing had happened.
Then after about five more minutes of talking about whatever, he threw in "and the reason I fired Abel before was I don't want anyone taking pictures of this meeting."
He invoked some kind of comparison to a sports team's locker room.
But he seriously fired someone live on a conference call with the entire company … a call that informed us that no one would be laid off today but that instead the layoffs (sorry, "impacts") would happen at different junctures next week depending on the success of finding "partners" for moribund Patch sites.
UPDATE: Audio of the conference call
Update - Aug. 13, 5 p.m. ET: Armstrong Apologizes
Valleywag has posted Armstrong's apology.
Tasneem Nashrulla is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Tasneem Nashrulla at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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