Pro-Trump social media figure Candace Owens is accusing a Buzzfeed reporter of threatening young women who used to work for her blog, but BuzzFeed denies the allegations.
BuzzFeed ran an article Tuesday night titled “The Newest Star Of The Trump Movement Ran A Trump-Bashing Publication — Less Than Two Years Ago” and notes that Owens previously ran a blog called “Degree180” that included anti-Trump and anti-conservative posts.
Owens immediately accused the author of harassing young women who used to write for Degree180 and threatening to publish their names if they did not cooperate with his report.
“This week, 3 of these young women, all of whom are private citizens with no involvement in politics, contacted me in a panic, claiming that Buzzfeed’s writer Joe Bernstein was threatening to publicly print their names if they did not work with him on his story about me,” she told The Daily Caller.
“I am a public figure, and fully accept that, in turn, unfavorable pieces may be written about me — but it’s truly reprehensible for Buzzfeed to target a group of young women, who aren’t public figures, all in a quest to score cheap political points against me,” she concluded.
She refused to provide The Daily Caller with any evidence that the Buzzfeed reporter, Joseph Bernstein, had threatened the young women if they did not cooperate with his report.
BuzzFeed denies the accusations entirely and told The Daily Caller that Owens is “smearing a reporter.”
“Reaching out for comment is not a threat — it’s responsible journalistic practice,” Matt Mittenthal, director of communications for BuzzFeed News, said. “Candace knows this, but would rather smear a reporter than be honest with her followers.”
The Daily Caller also reviewed an email Bernstein sent to a former Degree180 writer that showed a standard request for comment.
As for the Bernstein piece about Degree180, Owens admits that she only recently became a conservative and speaks about her political transformation quite often on her YouTube channel, where she is known as “Red Pill Black.”
The BuzzFeed article claims, “Much of Owens’ recent popularity comes from her forceful disavowal of liberal narratives around structural racism, systemic inequality, and identity politics. But the site she ran trafficked heavily in such tropes.”
Owens, who now works for the college conservative group Turning Point USA, described her old website to The Daily Caller as a “free and open outlet” for young women to express themselves on a multitude of issues.
“It is not a secret that after a traumatic experience as a teenager, I battled with Anorexia Nervosa. Years later, in my early adult life, I established a non-profit blog to provide young women (all in High School or college) who may have been going through similar issues, a free and open outlet to blog about their experiences,” Owens said in a statement. “These articles primarily tackled the issues of depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts, as well as any other topic they felt inspired to write about.”
In addition to the accusations of threatening young women, Owens claims Bernstein did not give her a reasonable amount of time to comment on the piece. An email reviewed by The Daily Caller shows he requested comment at 7:12 p.m. Eastern and then published the piece at 7:22 p.m. Eastern, exactly 10 minutes later.
“We were compelled to move up our publication after Candace began to launch personal attacks on our reporter and knowingly spread falsehoods about the content of our piece,” BuzzFeed’s Mittenthal said.