Each week, Queerty picks one blowhard, hypocrite, airhead, sanctimonious prick or other enemy of all that is queer to be the Douche of the Week. Have a nominee for DOTW? E-mail it to us at [email protected].


It’s a rare day that we would consider giving the prestigious Douche of the Week award to a member of our own community.  But award-winning gay journalist Johann Hari rose above the fray—not so much for his sins but for his insulting “apology.”

Congrats, Johann. Truly.

You beat out all those douches in North Carolina.

For those not in the know, Hari is a globetrotting gay British journalist who writes for The Independent, The New York Times, Le Monde, Huffington Post and UK gay mag Attitude, among many other outlets. He’s reported from Iraq, Israel, the Congo, Peru and the US. In 2008, Hari was a awarded the coveted Orwell Prize for political journalism. He was a respected writer and kind of a big deal.

That is, until he was caught for plagiarism.

Pink News reports:

“Bloggers discovered a 2004 interview [Hari did] with the Italian Marxist Antonio Negri used identical quotes to those in a 2003 book, Negri on Negri, by Anne Dufourmantelle. In another example, a 2010 interview with Israeli journalist Gideon Levy, included sentences taken from a column written by Mr Lev[y] a year before.”

The list, sadly, goes on. The Telegraph accuses Hari of inventing an atrocity in the story that won him the Orwell Prize and he’s been accused and criticized by The Guardian, The Telegraph, the New Statesmen,  The Washington Post, and others.

In an apology published on his blog, Hari writes:

“…I think in the end I’ll be grateful my flaws have also been dragged into the light in this way. I would like to apologise again to my readers, my colleagues and the people hurt by my actions. I know that some of you have lost faith in my work. I will do everything I can now to regain it.”

We get it, Johann. You’re really, really, really super sorry.

Or are you?

Yes, Hari has returned his Orwell Prize—but even he said he was probably going to be stripped of it anyway.

And though he’s tarnished not just his own reputation but those of the newspapers and magazines he worked for, Hari’s idea of falling on the sword is taking a four-month vacation.

“I am going to take an unpaid leave of absence from The Independent until 2012, and at my own expense I will be undertaking a programme of journalism training. (I rose very fast in journalism straight from university.)”

Seriously? Someone who’s dodged bullets in the Congo needs advanced training to know that copying someone’s answers is wrong? We learned that in Mrs. Weinstein’s second-grade math class.

Forbes.com rightly spits out that, “this apology is more meaningless than most… it’s shot through with self-justification, self-regard and petty swipes at his critics. Most unforgivably, Hari still chooses to cast his sin as one of ignorance rather than calculation…”

All together now: What a douche!

Image via internets_dairy

Don't forget to share:

Help make sure LGBTQ+ stories are being told...

We can't rely on mainstream media to tell our stories. That's why we don't lock Queerty articles behind a paywall. Will you support our mission with a contribution today?

Cancel anytime · Proudly LGBTQ+ owned and operated