UPDATE 6/4/22 11:37 a.m. In their current Editor's Note, The Washington Post claims that they reached out to LegalBytes via Instagram prior to the story's publication. LegalBytes has publically disputed that assertion by the paper. More below.
The Washington Post got caught trying to secretly clean up a mess on Friday after hatchetman, doxxer, pathological liar, and “internet culture” writer Taylor Lorenz lied on Thursday about reaching out to two YouTube content creators she targeted over their videos about the Johnny Depp-Amber Heard trial. Ironically, this comes as Lorenz has pumped out irate tweets in support of Heard who earlier this week was found guilty of defamation.
In her piece titled “Who won the Depp-Heard trial? Content creators that went all-in,” two of the content creators she targeted were an anonymous pro-Depp YouTuber who goes by ThatUmbrellaGuy and licensed attorney LegalBytes. Their crime? Putting out popular videos and making a buck:
The content creator Alyte Mazeika earned $5,000 in one week by pivoting the content on her YouTube channel to nonstop trial coverage and analysis, according to Business Insider. (…) ThatUmbrellaGuy, an anonymous YouTuber whose entire channel is dedicated to pro-Depp content, earned up to $80,000 last month, according to an estimate by social analytics firm Social Blade.
In her original story, Lorenz falsely claimed she had reached out and both and they “did not respond to requests for comment” (included below).
Shortly after Lorenz’s article went live, LegalBytes called her out on her lies. “Um. This says I didn't respond to requests to comment? I know I've gotten a lot of emails over the past two months, but I've just double checked for your name, @TaylorLorenz, and I see no email from you,” she tweeted.
She also called out Lorenz for mischaracterizing her coverage of the Depp-Heard trial as a hard “pivot.” “Also, I didn't suddenly pivot. I started covering this before trial began,” she wrote.
Um. This says I didn't respond to requests to comment? I know I've gotten a lot of emails over the past two months, but I've just double checked for your name, @TaylorLorenz, and I see no email from you.— Legal Bytes 🍽💙 (@legalbytesmedia) June 3, 2022
Also, I didn't suddenly pivot. I started covering this before trial began. https://t.co/7qHTrOsfHQ pic.twitter.com/yJzzqS8ggS
A quick look at LegalBytes’s videos and it’s clear she covers high-profile court cases including the Kyle Rittenhouse trial.
At some point in the blowback on Thursday, The Post stealth edited the article in an attempt to hind the fact Lorenz failed to reach out to either of them while claiming she did. This stealth edit was discovered by Fox News Digital’s Joseph A. Wulfsohn.
Upon reaching out to the paper, they told him “The story has also been amended to note The Post’s attempts to reach Alyte Mazeika and ThatUmbrellaGuy for comment. Previous versions omitted or inaccurately described these attempts." They eventually published that as part of an Editor’s Note, where they admit Lorenz also misattributed a quote to one of Depp’s lawyers.
But the saga doesn’t end there.
Later on Friday, The Post pushed out this beefy Editor’s Note:
The first published version of this story stated incorrectly that Internet influencers Alyte Mazeika and ThatUmbrellaGuy had been contacted for comment before publication. In fact, only Mazeika was asked, via Instagram. After the story was published, The Post continued to seek comment from Mazeika via social media and queried ThatUmbrellaGuy for the first time. During that process, The Post removed the incorrect statement from the story but did not note its removal, a violation of our corrections policy. The story has been updated to note that Mazeika declined to comment for this story and ThatUmbrellaGuy could not be reached for comment.
A previous version of this story also inaccurately attributed a quote to Adam Waldman, a lawyer for Johnny Depp. The quote described how he contacted some Internet influencers and has been removed.
At no point did the paper explain how an editor allowed Lorenz to claim she reached out to the YouTubers when, in fact, she did not. And there was no explanation as to why they waited until after the article went up and she was caught lying for the comment requests to be sent out.
In their Friday Editor's note and in the current Saturday note, The Post claims when it came to reaching out to the YouTubers for comment, "In fact, only Mazeika was asked, via Instagram." But LegalBytes disputes their account, writing on Twitter: "
What?! @washingtonpost I will say this AGAIN.— Legal Bytes 🍽💙 (@legalbytesmedia) June 4, 2022
I was not reached out to by @TaylorLorenz for comment until after my tweet below. She reached out to me by IG DM AFTER she did on Twitter. Both DMs were sent to me AFTER I called her out here.
Please stop lying and take the L. https://t.co/5mylhJTU9f pic.twitter.com/ZfS7BUCeDF
Journalism dies at The Washington Post.