BuzzFeed editor-in-chief Ben Smith announced the firing Benny Johnson Friday night after an internal review found 41 separate instances of plagiarism in the viral politics editor’s posts. “[W]e had no choice other than letting him go,” Smith wrote in a post published online and framed as an apology to BuzzFeed readers.
“After carefully reviewing more than 500 of Benny’s posts, we have found 41 instances of sentences or phrases copied word for word from other sites,” wrote Smith. “We have corrected the instances of plagiarism, and added an editor’s note to each.” Smith also included links to thel 41 posts.
Johnson, a prolific writer hired by BuzzFeed in December 2012, lifted entire sentences from a number of outlets, including Fox News, National Review Online, Wikipedia, Yahoo Answers, U.S. News and World Report, The Associated Press, and The Hill.
Two anonymous bloggers with the Twitter handles @blippoblappo and @crushingbort were the first to discover the plagiarism.
Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC