The online publication The Intercept announced on Tuesday it fired a reporter for fabricating quotes and sources in multiple stories for the website.
The Glenn Greenwald-founded news outlet said that Juan Thompson, a reporter who wrote about race and criminal justice and worked for the company from June 2014 to January 2016, had “a pattern of deception.”
“Thompson fabricated several quotes in his stories and created fake email accounts that he used to impersonate people, one of which was a Gmail account in my name,” wrote Intercept Editor-in-Chief Betsy Reed in a “note to readers.”
An internal investigation conducted by the publication found “three instances in which quotes were attributed to people who said they had not been interviewed.” Several other reports contained quotes, of which The Intercept could not independently verify the authenticity.
During the review, “Thompson went to great lengths to deceive his editors, creating an email account to impersonate a source and lying about his reporting methods,” according to Reed. The editor also said the reporter didn’t cooperate with the review of his work.
The Intercept also issued a full retraction of Thompson’s report claiming a “love interest” of Charleston shooter Dylann Roof chose a black man over him. Thompson relied entirely on a supposed cousin of Roof named “Scott Roof” for account. Relatives of the shooter told The Intercept there is no one in their family named “Scott Roof.”
The outlet also issued several major corrections to four other stories written by Thompson. One of the articles was a report on a Donald Trump rally which included made-up quotes from Trump supporters endorsing the surveillance of Black Lives Matter protesters.
“We apologize to the subjects of the stories; to the people who were falsely quoted; and to you, our readers. We are contacting news outlets that picked up the corrected stories to alert them to the problems,” Reed said in the site’s statement.
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