So we have an update on the Huffington Post’s “White men should not be allowed to vote” article and I’m afraid its bad news. As we reported earlier during the week, the viral article that The Huffington Post had published and defended was actually a satirical piece written by a white man living in South Africa. The man has now been identified as Marius Roodt, a think-tank employee from Johannesberg, South Africa, who had sent them the article under a pseudonym, in order to expose HuffPo’s racism and “lack of fact-checking”.
Instead of hiding in embarrassment and maybe improving their editorial system, The Huffington Post decided to track him down and harass him at his work place. They blamed him for the article (even though it was they who published it), and accused him of increasing racial tensions:
The man behind “Shelley Garland,” Marius Roodt, was identified after the Huffington Post digitally traced his email and used facial recognition technology on the picture of “Garland,” which was actually a picture of Roodt altered to look like a woman.
Armed with video recording equipment, three HuffPo editors then arrived at Roodt’s workplace to confront him.
Putting him on the spot in a video interview, the HuffPo editors then asked him a number of questions including, “Are you sorry for what you did?” HuffPo editor-at-large Ferial Haffajee also told Roodt that she thought his hoax had been an example of “his own anger coming out” and had been a “very angry thing to do.”
The HuffPo editors also drew attention to some of the consequences caused by the publication of the piece. Despite the fact that the Huffington Post made the decision to publish the article, they called on Roodt to answer for them.
“Did you think that this might – if this were published – might lead to racial discord, or might harden attitudes on both sides?” asked Pieter du Toit, deputy editor of HuffPo South Africa. “It’s led to a white Twitter outcry. It’s led to some terrible things being said about South Africans across the board, and terrible things being said personally about our colleagues [and] the title we work for.”
The man has now been forced to resign from his work place. Meanwhile, the idiots at the Huffington Post who reviewed the article and decided to publish it get to keep theirs.
Seriously, we need to get into contact with this man and do something for him.
And yet, it was Roodt, not anyone at the Huffington Post, who ended up losing his job. Roodt tendered his resignation with his employer, the Centre for Development and Enterprise, a prestigious South African think-tank.
The resignation was accepted by Ann Bernstein, the CDE’s director. Roodt has yet to explain why he felt the need to resign, given that he appears to have done a service to South African journalism by exposing lax editorial standards and a troubling level of racism at a major online publication.