"I'll sell myself out in a lot of different ways, but I will never sell myself out for a check from BuzzFeed"


I am the last person on earth who would ever want to be on Team Trump, but I hate BuzzFeed as much as I hate Donald so here we are. Welcome to the Twilight Zone.

See, I’m not surprised that BuzzFeed would do something as shady and unethical as exposing this Trump dossier that alleges he paid Russian sex workers for a golden shower show. Nope, literally nothing this loathsome, pathetic excuse for a “news” site does could ever surprise me. I can’t understand why anyone would take a site seriously that posts things they admit cannot be verified.

However, I did get a good laugh out of their trending section the other day. It showed that a make your own sandwich quiz was trending in the #1 spot & the Trump dossier post was trending at #2. I can’t think of anything more American than that!

I have a personal interest in hating on BuzzFeed. On July 23, 2013 my life changed forever. I was 23 and very naive: I had leaked information to a gossip blog thinking I could truly stay anonymous. And then a stranger messaged me on Facebook with a link and said, “You’re going to be famous.”

I clicked on it and I was immediately horrified. Somehow BuzzFeed had figured out who I was and there were photos of me from my Facebook page. My full name was in the article. My anonymity was gone. I remember thinking I should just kill myself because I’d never have a normal life again. In retrospect I’m obviously glad I didn’t kill myself, but I was right about my life being changed forever.

I wasn’t given any real warning. Jessica Testa from BuzzFeed sent me two Facebook messages. Five minutes after she sent her second message the story was posted. I hadn’t even seen any of her messages until after they leaked my identity. Most reputable sites don’t operate that way.

But BuzzFeed has a much different way of doing things. In my mind, the information I had leaked anonymously was the only “story” I wanted out. I still don’t see the point of leaking my identity. It didn’t really add to the story about Weiner and since then, other women have come forward to say they’d been sexting him.

I was a private citizen who wanted to remain just that. There were ten different names listed as contributors to the article outing me. All of those people should be deeply ashamed, particularly the one who finds it humorous to follow me on Twitter on the anniversary of outing me, who is now a CNN employee. (Hi Andrew Kaczynski, you intolerable little cunt!)

Here’s where it gets really sketchy though: since ruining my life, I have been asked to participate in a few things for BuzzFeed. In August of 2014, they wanted me to be part of a video about porn stars explaining what love is like. I kindly told the woman no and said that I hated BuzzFeed, not just because of the animal listicles and annoying quizzes on Facebook but because I was outed by them. I assumed it was some kind of weird oversight and I would never hear from them again. I mean, those people really must have huge balls if they can ruin your life and then expect you to smile and be cute in a video, right?

Then in October of 2015 someone from Buzzfeed asked if they could pay me to write an article about Hillary, specifically something critical about her. Now as a woman whose life has been ruined by reporters, I am unhirable. So naturally when a job is offered to me, I tend to want to do it. And I happen to love writing and politics!

Perfect fit, right? At literally ANY other site it would have been. I willingly participate in the filming of pornography and have no moral dilemma about it, but when it comes to Buzzfeed, I knew if I accepted their money I would never be able to look at myself in the mirror.

I felt ashamed that I even considered it for a brief second. Yes, I need to work. But I’ve done a lot of things I’ve come to regret and I wasn’t about to let this be another one. So as much as I love writing and I love money, I had to say no.

I’m proud of myself for sticking to what I know to be right. I’ll sell myself out in a lot of different ways, but I will never sell myself out for a check from BuzzFeed.

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Ken Silverstein is the CEO, editor-in-chief, lead writer and primary sleaze purveyor for Washington Babylon. He's written for dozens of publications, from VICE to Wallpaper*. He's also a big fan of Sydney Leathers, a political scandal expert, porn performer, cat-mom of two from the Midwest and Washington Babylon's Senior Contributing Writer.