UK

BuzzFeed Writer Benny Johnson Fired For Plagiarism

28/07/2014 10:22 BST | Updated 28/07/2014 10:59 BST

BuzzFeed has fired one of its writers after finding 41 instances of sentences or phrases being copied “word for word” from other websites.

Viral politics editor Benny Johnson was sacked days after Twitter users began pointing out examples of plagiarism.

On Saturday the website issued an apology and explained it had reviewed more than 500 pieces of Johnson’s work in its investigation.

Editor-in-chief Ben Smith said the 41 examples of plagiarism has been corrected and a note had been added to each.

Smith wrote: “Benny is a friend, colleague, and at his best, a creative force, but we had no choice other than letting him go.

“We owe you, our readers, an apology. This plagiarism is a breach of our fundamental responsibility to be honest with you – in this case, about who wrote the words on our site.

“Plagiarism, much less copying unchecked facts from Wikipedia or other sources, is an act of disrespect to the reader. We are deeply embarrassed and sorry to have misled you.

“Benny’s editors – I, Katherine Miller, John Stanton, Shani Hilton, and McKay Coppins – bear real responsibility.”

Among the corrected items are ‘7 Miracle Babies To Warm Your Heart Today’, which replicated phrasing from the site Baby Said What, ‘Pope Kisses The Feet Of Prisoners And Muslims’ , which featured phrasing copied from The Catholic News Herald and the Boston Globe, and ‘7 Cities That Defy Terrorism’, which contained a sentence copied from a post on Yahoo Answers.

Johnson tweeted an apology on Saturday, stating: “To the writers who were not properly attributed and anyone who ever read my byline, I am sincerely sorry.”