Following an explosive BuzzFeed report about the far-right news site Breitbart and its relationships with racist and sexist hate movements, Mitchell Sunderland ― a senior writer at Vice’s feminism vertical, Broadly ― has been let go, the company said Friday.
The BuzzFeed report, “Here’s How Breitbart And Milo Smuggled Nazi and White Nationalist Ideas Into The Mainstream,” describes how Sunderland on multiple occasions suggested story ideas to Milo Yiannopoulos, then a writer at Breitbart. At one point last year, Sunderland sent Yiannopoulos a link to an article by the author Lindy West and told him, “Please mock this fat feminist.”
Vice said on Friday it had fired Sunderland. Previously, a company spokesperson had told BuzzFeed that Vice was “shocked and disappointed” by Sunderland’s “highly inappropriate and unprofessional conduct.”
In the BuzzFeed report, writer Joseph Bernstein identifies several members of the media who were on an email chain with Yiannopoulos, where they collectively mocked stories about social justice and pitched story ideas.
In addition to tech and entertainment, Yiannopoulos had hidden helpers in the liberal media against which he and Bannon fought so uncompromisingly. A long-running email group devoted to mocking stories about the social justice internet included, predictably, Yiannopoulos’s friend Ann Coulter, but also Mitchell Sunderland, a senior staff writer at Broadly, Vice’s women’s channel. According to its “About” page, Broadly “is devoted to representing the multiplicity of women’s experiences. … we provide a sustained focus on the issues that matter most to women.”
“Please mock this fat feminist,” Sunderland wrote to Yiannopoulos in May 2016, along with a link to an article by the New York Times columnist Lindy West, who frequently writes about fat acceptance. And while Sunderland was Broadly’s managing editor, he sent a Broadly video about the Satanic Temple and abortion rights to Tim Gionet with instructions to “do whatever with this on Breitbart. It’s insane.” The next day, Breitbart published an article titled “‘Satanic Temple’ Joins Planned Parenthood in Pro-Abortion Crusade.”
Many on Twitter called for Sunderland to be fired, saying that for him to work as a staff writer at a site focused on women was “wrong.”
Sunderland did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment. He has been quiet on Twitter since the BuzzFeed article began circulating.