Forget summer watermelon parties at IJR.
At least not without an uprising.
In an attempt to balance out the publication’s conservative leaning reputation, editors have hired liberal watermelon hater Tommy Christopher to oversee a new lefty opinion vertical.
Christopher, who will continue to write for Shareblue, has previously written for Mediaite and The Daily Banter.
“They couldn’t find anyone better?” a Washington reporter asked me by text.
“Proof that people can fail upward,” another reporter wrote me on Gchat.
The Mirror requested comment from Christopher about going to work for IJR.
This is the second fake-named reporter that IJR has hired in the last month.
Jon Nicosia (not his real name) also recently came on board at IJR from Mediaite. He is admittedly a convicted felon. He pretended to be a trauma surgeon in D.C. and Massachusetts. In 2014, he “came clean” on Mediaite about his crimes. He was convicted of bank fraud and larceny and spent five years in the slammer.
In this day and age, his colorful past only makes him more provocative. “At Mediaite he had a strong sense of urgency and worked very long hours,” The Washington Examiner‘s media writer Eddie Scarry, who previously worked under Nicosia at Mediaite, told The Mirror.
Nicosia’s real name is Zachary Hildreth. Christopher has used several aliases to protect his family from a variety of alleged threats.
Digiday pronounced that hiring Christopher is a pretty risky move.
IJR CEO Alex Skatell told Digiday that hiring Christopher is an attempt to “track down the counter-narrative” and “present information across the spectrum.” He also said the move wasn’t in response to the recent fiasco at IJR when a reporter at the bequest of IJR‘s Creative Director Benny Johnson wrote a bogus story about former President Obama. After being suspended along with two other editorial staffers, Johnson has since reportedly been demoted but still holds the same title. (A source tells me the demotion was public only and that his internal power remains the same.) According to a Business Insider story, Johnson was forced to go through “communication training” and be under “daily review.” Reporter Joe Perticone resigned in protest over what happened. He’s now a freelance reporter.
Tommy Christopher (not his real name) has a penchant for writing overblown pieces about racism. His emotional reaction to race appears to stem from an incident in the third grade when he used the word “nigger.” He was looking at a globe and announced to his class, “There’s a country called Nigger!” His horrified teacher quickly corrected him. In 2014, he wrote that he makes it a life practice to refuse to eat watermelon — presumably to stand in solidarity with his black brothers and sisters.
From another mother, naturally. Christopher is Caucasian.
No one asked him to stop eating the delicious fruit enjoyed by millions of Americans. He chose that all on his own.
He explained that the thought of eating it makes him feel queasy.
“I realized that even though watermelon is the only kind of melon I can stand, I haven’t eaten it in decades,” he wrote. “I think the dumbass racist stereotype is why. …Eventually, just looking at one gave me that Clockwork Orange sick feeling, so I guess I just avoided it without even realizing it.”
Congrats to Christopher on his new gig.
Your watermelon is in the mail.