Mark Duffy, a copywriter-turned-ad critic, was fired from BuzzFeed last month, and now he has written a “BuzzFeedy listicle” to countdown 10 “possible” reasons he was fired.
The possibilities Duffy listed in his Gawker post on Monday include his age (“The average age in the editorial department is late 20s. I am 15-plus years older than Ben Smith and CEO Jonah Peretti.”), regular confrontations with editors (“Everybody at BuzzFeed is a fucking ‘editor'”), occasional editorial-wide emails scolding employees for a dirty workplace (“What can I say, I hate untidiness.”), and bad-mouthing advertisers who advertised on BuzzFeed.
But since we’ve all already read a few too many BuzzFeed listicles during our time on the internet, let’s skip ahead to the number one reason: Editor-in-chief Ben Smith shouldn’t have hired him in the first place.
“Many editorial job openings on BuzzFeed’s jobs page feature a ‘no haters’ (say it a singsong voice) caveat. But hating is what I do, and have always done,” Duffy wrote. “Hating was what built my following. I was specifically hired, by Ben Smith, to hate ads.”
Prior to his 18-month tenure at BuzzFeed, Duffy was longtime copywriter for an ad agency, and regularly criticized his own industry through an anonymous “Copyranter” blog, which Duffy says had “roughly 18,000 followers on Twitter” at the time.
When announcing his departure from BuzzFeed on Twitter last month, Duffy said he was terminated because his “content wasn’t ‘BuzzFeedy’ enough.” “Creative differences” is the explanation Duffy recalls being given by Smith at the time of his firing, a “near-impossible” feat.
“During my 18 months there, I worked seven days a week, 11 or 12-hour days, Monday through Friday, and somewhere around five hours a day on the weekends,” Duffy wrote. “I don’t really understand what ‘creative differences’ means, as I did exactly what I was hired to do for BuzzFeed.”
In a response to the disgruntled BuzzFeed employee’s account of how and why he was fired, Smith replied with his own.
“We parted ways with Mark because his tone and vision are really different from ours,” Smith wrote. “In particular, it’s important to him to make charges — and in one case, imagine dialogue — without the reporting to support them. That’s something he is perhaps doing with me here.”