AOL is preparing to lay off as many as 500 employees who work on Patch, according to AllThingsD, which is about half of the Patch team right now. The company’s CEO Tim Armstrong publicly fired one of Patch’s employees last week, when he let the worker go during a staff call in front of 1,000 people. Armstrong has since apologized for firing the employee and blamed it on an “emotional response” as he was faced with the decision to lay off members of the team.
“Patch, as previously announced, is taking steps to move to profitability,” Armstrong said Friday morning. Patch’s strategy will be to focus resources against core sites and partner in sites that need additional resources. Additionally, there are sites that we will be consolidating or closing.” Patch employees are not in a central location and instead report from around the country. It serves as a local digital news outlet for towns and local governments around the United States.
AllThingsD said that 350 of the 500 employees scheduled to be let go will be informed soon and will have to relinquish their roles immediately. AOL will work to find roles for the remaining 150 Patch employees, though there are no guarantees that there’s going to be room for a future in AOL.