AOL’s CEO Fires Employee While On A Conference Call With 1,000 People


At least it was on a Friday.

Last week, AOL CEO Tim Armstrong (haha, AOL), fired an employee in the middle of a massive conference call with the employees of AOL’s hyper-local news outlet, Patch. Armstrong was breaking the news to all on the conference call that AOL would be shutting down some 400 of Patch’s websites.

While in the middle of his address, Armstrong pulled off a tremendous dick power move. Someone had entered the room and was snapping pictures of him during the conference call. With the heat of a thousand suns and no regard for the United States unemployment rate, ol’ Timmy laid the hammer down on the photographer, telling him, “Abel, put that camera down right now. Abel, you’re fired. Out.”

It wouldn’t shock me if the next thing we heard on the recording was glass shattering and Abel screaming as Armstrong dangled him out of a high window at AOL’s HQ. Prepare to be disappointed, because that didn’t happen.

Turns out the man getting the pink slip was Patch photographer, Abel Lenz. Lenz even tweeted a few hours after getting the boot.

Fascinating. After firing Lenz, Armstrong continued addressing his employees, ensuring them future success for Patch, blah blah blah, boring corpo-talk.

Here’s the audio of the firing:

And here’s the transcript:

‘There’s a couple of things I want you guys to realize and really think about and sink in, and if it doesn’t sink in and you don’t believe what I’m about to say, I’m going to ask you to leave Patch. And I don’t mean that in a harsh way; I mean that in the way of we have to get Patch into a place where it’s going to be successful and it’s going to be successful for a long time. There’s a whole bunch of towns that are going to be successful but we need the whole enterprise to be successful.


‘The first one is, I will take full credit and full responsibility for anything that’s not right at Patch. If the coffee machine doesn’t work, or a town doesn’t work — anything that’s going wrong at Patch you can blame me for it. I founded Patch, we brought it into AOL, we’ve been very busy turning around AOL overall.

‘I don’t care what the press says, I don’t care if people leak information. I’ve already lived through that at AOL — when I took over AOL — so if you need somebody to blame for why we’re making changes at Patch you can blame me. I take full responsibility.

‘I also want to clear up the fact that leaking information or anything around Patch isn’t going to bother me, doesn’t bother me. I’m not changing direction. When you hear about what we’re doing at Patch it’s very serious and it’s very forward-thinking and anything that happens around Patch isn’t going to change that direction.

‘Third thing is if you don’t use Patch as a product and you’re not invested in Patch, you owe it to everybody else at Patch to leave. If you think what’s going on right now is a joke, and you want to joke around about it, you should pick your stuff up and leave Patch today, and the reason is, and I’m going to be very specific about this, is Patch from an experience Abel, put that camera down right now. Abel, you’re fired. Out! [10-second pause].

‘If you guys think that AOL has not been committed to Patch, and won’t stay committed to Patch, you’re wrong. The company has spent hundreds of millions of dollars, the board of directors is committed, I’m committed.’


Tim’s got one word for you, Abel:

[via The Daily Mail]

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Brian McGannon

What do I love? I love happy hour, a good golf tan, and getting moderately drunk during dinner.

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