Media

Reporter Who Cast Joke As Anti-Semitic Tweeted A Black Stereotype

BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images

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A Bloomberg Law reporter who went after a Trump labor employee over a 2016 joke tweeted a black stereotype comment in 2013.

Ben Penn, the Bloomberg Law reporter, wrote an article Tuesday about Leif Olson, a former U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) employee. Penn brought up a 2016 joke on Olson’s Facebook page and alleged it was anti-Semitic. DOL accepted Olson’s resignation on Aug. 30, 18 days after hiring him.

Penn posted a comment stereotyping black people on Twitter. The tweet talked about black people and watermelons.

The Twitter handle “Gleichmonster” wrote in 2013, “Is this racist? Can someone give me a ruling on this?” with a photo attachment of baseball player Adam Jones’s birthday cake. Jones is black and the cake was designed to look like Popeyes fried chicken.

Penn replied, “No. Needed watermelon as one of the sides to pass my threshold.” (CNN Hired Photo Editor Who Refers To Jews, Police As ‘Pigs’ And Called For People To Be Murdered)

The Bloomberg Law reporter also posted a comment about Jews in 2014.

Political commentators hit back at Penn after Olson resigned following Bloomberg Law’s inquiry about the Facebook post. Penn wrote Olson’s Facebook post suggested “the Jewish-controlled media ‘protects their own,'” noting it began as sarcasm. Penn alleged the thread ended up having “two anti-Semitic tropes.”

Bloomberg Law cropped out the portion of the thread that asserted Olson's comments were a joke. (Screenshot Facebook)

Bloomberg Law cropped out the portion of the thread that asserted Olson’s comments were a joke. (Screenshot Facebook)

“It was sarcastic criticism of the alt-right’s conspiracy theories and anti-Semitic positions,” Olson said in an interview, according to Bloomberg Law.

Political commentator Ben Shapiro wrote, “This article is a joke.” Mollie Hemingway, a senior editor at The Federalist, tweeted the article was “dangerous and malicious propaganda against Republicans.”

Bloomberg Law did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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