AOL CEO Tim Armstrong, who hasn't met a conference call he couldn't turn into an embarrassment for the entire company, has decided to reverse his new benefits plan after widespread outcry.
Armstrong initially blamed the new plan, which would reduce 401k contributions, on the rising cost of Obamacare as well as two employees with "distressed babies" who cost the company "a million dollars each" in 2012. (Armstrong, incidentally, earned a salary equivalent to 12 distressed babies last year, which somehow never factored into AOL's purported need to cut costs.)
For some reason, this comment made a lot of people -- both AOL employees and otherwise -- angry. After an attempt to non-apologize, Armstrong has decided to revert back to AOL's old benefits plan and also apologize for real:
On a personal note, I made a mistake and I apologize for my comments last week at the town hall when I mentioned specific healthcare examples in trying to explain our decision making process around our employee benefit programs.
The wife of one of those employees came forward today, writing in Slate that Armstrong's apology was "commendable, but the damage to my family had already been done." Her husband's co-workers asked if his was one of the "distressed babies." It brought back unpleasant memories of her birth, several months premature with a good chance that she would not survive or be severely disabled if she did.
The good news is that Deanna Fei's daughter now "appears much like any baby." Last week, she took her first steps.