Le WebTechCrunch's UK editor Sam Sethi has been fired following his coverage of the recent Le Web 3 conference in Paris, which inspired Loïc Le Meur, organiser and European head of blog company Six Apart , to leave a comment calling him "an arsehole".

Ben Metcalfe revealed on his blog earlier today that Mr Sethi had twittered to say he had been fired by his publisher Michael Arrington:

"I have been fired by Arrington for not removing the post comments from Loic. I will be looking for work and writing on www.vecosys.com."

Mr Sethi also made a final post to the TechCrunch UK site which has now been removed (resurrected by e-consultancy):

"Following yesterday’s post about Le Web and Loïc’s retort. It seems Mike Arrington has disagreed with my post and opinion believing my actions to be vindictive towards Loïc. What was said between Mike and I will remain confidential but suffice to say I can no longer remain with TechCrunch UK & Ireland."

Publisher Michael Arrington has posted a full explanation of his actions on his own blog Crunchnotes. He denies that Mr Sethi was sacked for his criticism of Le Web 3, or for not removing Mr Loïc’s "arsehole" comment at his request.

"The actions that resulted in his dismissal were additional comments he wrote on that second post, announcing 'that TechCrunch UK will be doing a series of seminars and a conference next year as well as a series of smaller meetings in conjunction with friends and partners which have been in the planning for sometime now'.

"These events were not discussed with me, and certainly were not approved. The fact that he announced and promoted them while trashing a competing event was a clear conflict of interest and was not appropriate. I do not consider this to be ethical behavior."

Mr Sethi defended himself in a comment posted in response to a piece on the blog roam4free:

"Mike and Loïc are not bad men but I was not prepared to play their game of censorship.

"I still think my post was mild and fair. I suppose my follow-up post might have been seen as twisting the knife but when you are called an “asshole” on your own blog it is hard to not respond and even then I made it clear I was not attacking Loïc - given I thought he did a great job of organising it - but the event was poor and the speakers bland etc.

"So I was trying to say I was planning events and if I made a pigs ear of it then by all means guillotine me."

TechCrunch was a partner in the two-day blogging event in Paris, which ended yesterday but, according to Mr Arrington, had no "financial arrangement" with its organisers.

Many attendees were critical of the event for its poor WiFi access, focus on big business, and last-minute alteration to its schedule to accommodate three political speakers - Israeli vice premier Shimon Peres, and French presidential candidates Francois Bayrou and Nicolas Sarkozy.

Compared with other posts from aggrieved bloggers at the event, many of whom had parted with up to €600 for the privilege of hearing political diatribes and PR lectures, Mr Sethi's original offence seems a bit lame and Mr Loïc's reaction a bit over the top.

But it appears that criticism may not be acceptable to Mr Loïc when it appears on "official" blogs, as a later comment by Mr Loïc to Mr Sethi's original post (the "arsehole" comment appears to have been excised) appears to indicate:

"This comment is true and I apologise for it. I will post more on my blog later, take the insult as an exhausted organiser after a few crazy weeks. I was only referring to your post in the context of TechCrunch helping us since day one on this event, not to your opinion. Basically I would have not reacted if it would have been on your personal blog, I felt really weird to see it on an official Techcrunch blog. I should not have commented that.

"This being said I note that you do not consider email as private communication which I find surprising."

UPDATE 15.12.06

Now Mike Butcher, TechCrunch UK co-editor has gone too.

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