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Buzzfeed apologises and sacks writer over plagiarism

Buzzfeed has apologised and sacked author Benny Johnson, after complaints were made on Twitter about plagiarism.

Ben Smith, a Buzzfeed editor, announced the move in an article on the website, stating: “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. Benny is a friend, colleague and, at his best, a creative force, but we had no choice other than letting him go.”

All instances of plagiarism have now been corrected, with an editor’s note added to each.

Smith added: “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.”

The article ended by promising that all Buzzfeed staff will hold themselves to a higher standard.

Earlier this year, The Drum caught up with Buzzfeed CEO Jonah Peretti: