In true American CEO tradition, AOL head honcho Tim Armstrong fired a lowly worker from the company's local news network, Patch in front of around 1000 employees on a conference call. Nicholas Carson of Business Insider sets the scene:
The day before the call, during AOL's Q2 earnings call, Armstrong told Wall Street analysts that Patch would shrink from 900 to 600 websites.
Patch employees took Armstrong's comments to mean that hundreds of them would soon lose their jobs.
Obviously, this sent morale plummeting.
The call was supposed to be Armstrong's attempt to rally the troops.
During the first minute or so of the recording, Armstrong says things like: "If you don't believe what I'm about to say, I'm going to ask you to leave Patch…We have to get Patch into a place where it's going to be successful."
But then things go suddenly awry.
An employee named Abel Lenz, Patch's Creative Director, takes a photo of Armstrong during the call, is told to put the camera down and then is promptly fired.
Amazingly, there is a recording of call, obtained by the blog Romenesko. Here it is on SoundCloud:
The message is loud and clear America: your ability to feed your family and house yourself is totally dependent on the mood of your boss. If he/she is in 'serious' mode and you do something to annoy them, it's off to the social security administration (or what is left of it) to make sure you can stay alive.
Oh the joys of modern American capitalism....