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CEO Tim Armstrong fired Abel Lenz, Patch creative director, in a publicly humiliating way during a live conference call with more than 1,000 employees on Friday, August 13.
Employees at Patch, AOL's hyper-local news service, say that Lenz was well known for taking photos during conference calls and placing them on the company’s intranet, the Daily Mail reports.
Armstrong made the call to discuss impending layoffs and the closing of many affiliate websites in the Patch division. Lenz tried to take photos during the call, as he usually did, but when he tried to take a picture of Armstrong approximately two minutes into the call, Armstrong fired him.
You can listen to the recording of the call here.
On the surface, it looks like Lenz was fired for taking a photo of the boss, but that is not the case.
During the conference call, Armstrong grumbled that information about Patch was being leaked to the press.
He appears to be blaming Lenz for the leaks.
"That's why Abel was fired," Armstrong said, Business Insider reports. "We can't have people that are in the locker room giving the game plan away."