It looks like the magic number was 40. BuzzFeed has decided to fire its viral politics editor, Benny Johnson, after finding that many instances of plagiarism in his work.
In a note to readers, BuzzFeed’s editor Ben Smith — who previously brushed off three examples of Johnson’s plagiarism — said the buck stopped with him and the site’s other editors:
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.
In a memo provided to FishbowlNY by BuzzFeed, Smith elaborated on the situation. You can read it below.