Lost in the miasma of sexual terror last week was a related episode that gripped the insular and paranoid world of precariously-employed, Brooklyn-dwelling online media. Jack Smith IV, who had created ‘content’ for the ‘millennial-focused’ website Mic, was accused of multifold offenses in the prestigious journal Jezebel. Swift retribution ensued. Within hours, he was publicly disavowed by the union to which he purportedly belonged, and then terminated.
The offenses? ‘Emotional abuse, manipulation, and gaslighting,’ per Jezebel’s accounting. One woman anonymously quoted as ‘Jenny’ described ‘being pressured into sex with Smith while they were high on weed.’ Cockburn has launched a plagiarism investigation to determine whether this particular allegation was lifted from a Nancy Reagan anti-drug pamphlet, because it sounds eerily familiar. Either way, the grave dangers of marijuana consumption are not ordinarily explored in the pages of former Gawker properties, so Cockburn applauds this journalistic milestone.
The ‘emotionally manipulative interactions’ for which Smith stands accused, if exposed across the whole of the journalism field, would probably collapse the entire industry in a matter of days. Which may be for the better. (Mic already appears on the verge of financial ruin.) Cockburn implores Jezebel to continue vigorously on this beat.