Sekoff has also defended Breitbart privately in the past, according to HuffPo blogger Lee Stranahan, a liberal who helped Breitbart in the past with some of his investigations. Stranahan said he asked Sekoff about Breitbart before he started working for the conservative publisher since in the left-wing circles Breitbart is viewed as “Satan.”
“Roy was as clear as can be. ‘Of course, no, of course he’s not racist’ he said ‘I know that,’” Stranahan said in a phone interview. “He said, ‘we know that.’ There was no case of Roy going, well, ‘I don’t, of course, think he is racist, but Arianna does.’ Arianna knows he’s not racist because he’s not racist. Anyone who knows him personally knows he’s not.”
Sekoff denies that conversation, and told TheDC he never said any of that to Stranahan. “If you publish that, you will be publishing an untruth,” Sekoff said in an email to TheDC. “I never said that to Lee – or anyone else. Period.”
Stranahan said the conversation with Sekoff, which he said happened last fall, was not off-the-record but was still private, so he was “reticent” about saying anything for “a long time” until now. He said he has tried to restore Breitbart and Huffington’s relationship since the two began their fallout after Breitbart left HuffPo just before Huffington launched the site, which she recently sold to AOL for $315 million. Their relationship took an ever sharper turn for the worse after Color of Change teamed with CREDO Action to get Breitbart kicked off ABC News’s election night coverage last November and The Huffington Post allowed Van Jones’ group to attack Breitbart personally on its site. Color of Change executive director James Rucker accused Breitbart of producing a “brand race-baiting propaganda and lies” in a Huffington Post blog post last November.
Huffington remained silent through all of this.
According to Stranahan, Breitbart was too “pissed” to talk to Huffington for at least a month after that, but then finally agreed to meet with her. “Around the New Year, they got together and they talked for a while,” Stranahan said. “He called me and told me all about that conversation – and that was good. She didn’t apologize, but she’s Arianna – and it just didn’t come up. Things were better, and, then, two weeks ago, I was like, ‘Look, why don’t you write for HuffPost?’”
Stranahan had stepped in to help calm Breitbart, who’s known for his fiery personality. He was the one who suggested Breitbart blog for The Huffington Post and even helped Breitbart write his two posts for the site in a way that would better appeal to those who do not share his conservative philosophy.
“I said [to Breitbart], ‘I know what your experiences are, but don’t go in assuming they [readers] are going to hate you because it brings you in with an attitude like, ‘I know you’re going to fucking hate me, but –,’” Stranahan told TheDC. “Don’t have that attitude, just be like, uh okay. Just go in a little slow.’”