The Bee has sent 400 workers home in the last four years or so of layoffs, they don't need excuses. And stories I read indicated they tried to reach the photographer for comment, unsuccessfully. Bottom line, he knew he was in the wrong and was treated appropriately.
Maybe it was simply a cheap way for a struggling business to cut costs (pure speculation of course). Bearing in mind how much 'news' is syndicated in the modern world, perhaps there is less and less scope for having your own staff.
And I did'nt read any quotes from the gentleman himself. Seems a little one sided to me.