The BuzzFeed Plagiarism Scandal, as Explained by 'Shattered Glass' GIFs

Buzzfeed employees trade high-fives while working at the company's headquarters in New York January 9, 2014.
Buzzfeed employees trade high-fives while working at the company's headquarters in New York January 9, 2014. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid. Brendan McDermid/Reuters

Who is Benny Johnson and why are people talking about him? We break it down using GIFs from the classic 2003 journalism drama Shattered Glass.

In December 2012, a conservative blogger/editor named Benny Johnson got a new job!! He became the viral politics editor at a news and entertainment website called BuzzFeed. He strolled into the DC bureau all like:

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Benny grew up in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and graduated Magna Cum Laude from The University of Iowa. He had a bright future ahead of him.

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He quickly got to work making viral, shareable content, like this epic post about Ronald Reagan's most YOLO moments. #WIN

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Some people complained that Benny's posts were hackneyed, terrible, and "the worst thing BuzzFeed's ever done." They were all like, WTF?

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But Benny's boss, BuzzFeed editor Ben Smith, was like, "LOL, Nice try, haters" and stood by Benny.

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Benny even got to report from the site of the Fort Hood shooting. He discovered a Chili's restaurant there!

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Last week, Benny called out another website for plagiarizing his post about George H. W. Bush's awesome socks.

Bad idea! Two Twitter users examined Benny's BuzzFeed articles and accused him of plagiarizing from sources like Wikipedia, U.S. News & World Report, and Yahoo! Answers. Uh oh.

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At first Ben Smith was like, step off haters, Benny is "one of the web’s deeply original writers."

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But then he decided to actually look through Benny's work himself. He and other BuzzFeed editors reviewed more than 500 posts by Benny Johnson. That's a lot of Internet articles.

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After discovering 41 posts with plagiarism and attribution issues, Ben Smith was all like, "Umm, wtf, you're fired, Benny."

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Then he sat down and wrote an Editor's Note apologizing to his readers and explaining which posts were plagiarized. Ugh, being an Editor-in-Chief is hard.

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Peace out, Benny. Where will you go next?

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Videos via Movie Clips, GIFs via MakeAGIF.com.

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