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AOL CEO sorry about public firing of Patch creative director

Tim Armstrong tells employees he made a mistake when he fired Abel Lenz during a Patch all-hands meeting.

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AOL CEO Tim Armstrong apologized to employees about publicly firing former Creative Director Abel Lenz last Friday, according to a post from Poynter on Tuesday.

The journalism watchdog organization posted the text of a note Armstrong sent to employees. In the note, Armstrong said he had apologized to Lenz about the incident.

Apparently management had to tell Lenz once before not to record a confidential meeting, so when he did it again, Armstrong reacted by firing him on the spot during an all-hands meeting, according to Armstrong's note. He wrote it was an "emotional response," that "at a human level it was unfair to Abel."

"We have been through many difficult situations in turning around AOL and I have done my best to make the best decisions in the long-term interest of the employees and the company," Armstrong wrote. "On Friday I acted too quickly and I learned a tremendous lesson and I wanted you to hear that directly from me."

Regardless of the apology, it seems Lenz still no longer works for Patch. His LinkedIn profile lists "Creative Director at AOL" as a past position. His current position is a teacher at Miami Ad School.

Updated, 2:33 p.m. PT: Adds more information and background.