Timothy Johnson, a “researcher” with Media Matters for America, announced Monday that he had left the organization after ten years — and apparently not on amicable terms.
Johnson not only accused his former boss of covering for a sexual predator, but offered a rare mea culpa for his time with Media Matters. Maybe — just maybe — he notes, the organization dedicated to using out-of-context quotes, spurious accusations, and old tweets to destroy the livelihoods of its political enemies is not the virtuous place he thought it to be.
In a long tweet thread, Johnson claims that Media Matters editorial director Ben Dimiero knew for years that a male staff member was engaging in sexual misconduct but did nothing to stop him. He writes:
This man suddenly resigned. And to my shame, I went out with him after work that day and we all got really drunk. He told me a sob story, I bought it, and the night ended with him being carried up to his apartment. Not too long later, I learned the truth of why he “resigned.” He was dismissed because of his sexual misconduct. But only after years of people in authority positions knowing about what he was doing.
If we were to apply the Media Matters standard of proof here — if I don’t like you, then everything bad they say about you is true and you probably did even worse stuff that I don’t know about yet — then Dimiero is obviously guilty. And would anyone find it surprising that a David Brock drone might do something slimy?
Johnson, meanwhile, is suffering the consequences of working for the Leopards Eating People’s Faces organization. After making his accusations against Dimiero, Johnson received a cease and desist letter demanding he remove his Twitter thread. (Side note: Media Matters is being represented by the Elias Law Group, which was founded by Russiagate orchestrator Marc Elias.) The letter not only states that Johnson breached his separation agreement with the company, but also reveals that MMFA sacked him for alleged performance issues.
“MMFA separated your employment in April because your conduct did not meet MMFA’s expectations as a result of such issues as abandoning work shifts without following MMFA’s notice procedures, and insubordinate and bullying communications directed toward your coworkers,” the letter says.
I will not shed a tear over Johnson’s unemployment. A few years ago, Johnson was the “researcher” who shared out-of-context screenshots of offensive jokes I made with my boyfriend nearly a decade earlier in high school. He rallied his followers to “cancel” me. It nearly ruined my career. My family and I received nonstop threats and harassment, and I will forever have the labels “anti-Semite” and “racist” attached to my name on the internet. To this day, I am reminded by online trolls that a stupid mistake from high school will follow me around for the rest of my life. I have to preface every relationship with an explanation of what happened out of fear that my new friend will eventually Google me and decide to disassociate.
A Twitter user asked Johnson, “Why would you work at such a garbage place for 10 years? Do you have no principles, ethics, morals?”
Johnson replied, “And comments like this have a point. I thought I did, but apparently not. Something I need to change.”
Maybe this is the wake up call Johnson needed. I hope so. Unlike Johnson’s former colleagues, I believe people can change and I believe in the power of forgiveness. However, I also believe in justice, and Media Matters is long overdue for its helping.
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