AOL CEO Tim Armstrong Fires Employee for Taking His PictureS

Things are a little tense over at AOL, with hundreds of Patch staffers facing layoffs as the hyperlocal news service continues to slide. And it's not just them: during a meeting about the layoffs, AOL's chief allegedly canned an exec just for trying to capture his likeness.

Jim Romenesko has the details of the conference room lashout from a tipster:

“[Creative Director] Abel [Lenz], 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.

TechCrunch, which is also owned by AOL, quotes a source who said the conference-firing was “shameful and disgusting.”

We're not sure if it was a camera phone, or a regular camera, or some sort of daguerreotype, but if you're ever in a meeting with Tim Armstrong, you might as well not even put your hands in your pockets.

Update: Is Armstrong afraid of cameras because when AOL axed a big group in 2011, the conference room was decorated like a 8-year-old's party birthday party?

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