Followers of beloved web comic The Oatmeal got a bit of a treat this past week. The founder and sole author of the website, Matt Inman, laid down a big ol’ can of whoopass on a journalist named Jack Stuef. Inman’s actions were in retaliation to an article Stuef posted on Buzzfeed that called into question the “ethics” of Inman and The Oatmeal.
The battle of the internet dynamos started 4 days ago when Jack Stuef posted an article called “The Secrets Of The Internet’s Most Beloved Viral Marketer.” The article opened up by calling into question the integrity of The Oatmeal, citing a recent comic involving a rape joke that Inman removed due to its negative feedback. The article then went on to question Inman’s past involvment with “sketchy” SEO practices, unfair labor practices, internet trolling habits, cut-throat competitive nature and general ethics of how he runs the website.
The post went viral and for a little while people were actually starting to question Matt Inman’s ethics. That all ended yesterday when Inman fired back a response article at Jack Stuef.
He started the article with this:
He then posted the full Buzzfeed article but added his own “notes” to Steuf’s piece. These notes systematically dismantled the article piece point by point.
Inman did stuff like this:
And made comments like this:
And then did something like this:
Inman ended the article by writing the following letter to Jack:
Dear Jack Stuef:
You point out the comics that pander, but gloss over the ones that don’t.
You reveal these “secrets” which are things I’ve been publicly saying for years to aspiring writers.
You ignore the fact that 99.9% of the reason I have so many readers is because I MAKE PEOPLE LAUGH.
You question the integrity of my writing and you do it on Buzzfeed.
This is not an honest review of my work, you just cherry-picked the things that fit your “Let’s vilify a cartoonist” story.
This is pageview journalism.
This is a character assassination.
And this is shit.
I can do it, too. What to watch?
At this point the hunter became the hunted.
Matt points out that although Jack is currently a writer for Buzzfeed, he has a less-than-stellar reputation in the journalism industry. In 2011, Jack was asked to leave a content website called Wonkette because of a gif that he made.
Here is the gif:
That is a gif wishing Sarah Palin‘s mentally disabled son, Trig, “Happy Birfday.”
Jack intro’d the gif with the following poem:
Oh little boy, What are you dreaming about?”
What’s he dreaming about? Nothing. He is retarded.”
Game. Set. Match. Matt Inman reigns supreme in the battle of the internet powerhouses.
Since the Oatmeal’s article came out, Buzzfeed has edited Jack’s original post. They took out that whole section about Matt’s fake family and released a statement to Gigaom.com.
The original article had a serious factual error, which we corrected fully and within an hour of its publication three days ago, and which we deeply regret. The corrected piece is fully accurate, and the complaints you refer to — which incidentally include a false claim that we pay by page views — confirm much of what’s in the piece. On a personal note, I think some Oatmeal comics are hilarious.
Buzzfeed has gone on record saying that it is unsure whether or not they will bring back Jack Stuef as a contributing writer.