BuzzFeed Embroiled in Serial Plagiarism Scandal
UPDATE: BuzzFeed Editor-in-Chief Ben Smith has announced Johnson's termination, stating that a review of over 500 posts unearthed 40 instances of plagiarism. "We are deeply embarrassed and sorry to have misled you," Smith writes. "Benny’s editors — I, Katherine Miller, John Stanton, Shani Hilton, and McKay Coppins — bear real responsibility."
Two anonymous bloggers using the Twitter handles @blippoblappo and @crushingbort, have apparently uncovered numerous instances of BuzzFeed's viral politics editor Benny Johnson copying and pasting text from other sources into his own work, without acknowledgment or attribution.
Thursday, when the first three accusations appeared at Gawker, BuzzFeed Politics editor-in-chief Ben Smith stood by his employee, “Benny Johnson is one of the web’s deeply original writers, as is clear from his body of work.”
The Buzzfeed posts were then updated and given proper attribution.
Friday morning, @blippoblappo and @crushingbort published a handful of new examples.
Reacting to these, in a statement to Poynter, Smith himself described three of those examples as "serious instances of plagiarism."
Politico reports that BuzzFeed is conducting a "full review" of Johnson's work and will decide afterward "how to proceed."
Outlets Johnson is accused of plagiarizing from include National Review Online, The New York Times, Yahoo Answers, Wikipedia, The Heritage Foundation, and U.S. News.
In a post titled "BuzzFeed Has Itself a Serial Plagiarist," New York Magazine published three tweets from just this month where Johnson seemed to accuse others of plagiarism:
Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC