Douche of the Week

Disgraced Gay Journalist Johann Hari Issues Insulting “Apology”

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. 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

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  • just sayin

    Looks like we got a future Queerty writer on our hands. Apologize? Why, it’s really your fault.

  • Cam

    This seems to me to be an example of people not being able to get outside their own heads.

    i.e. to the writers at Queerty, a journalist who breaks journalistic ethics in a series of articles nobody on here will ever read is a MUCH bigger deal to them than NC voting on an anti-gay law…which would be a bigger deal to….oh….pretty much everybody else.

  • christopher di spirito

    My nominee for the biggest douche of the week is televangelist Pat Robertson. I know, he isn’t gay but this takes the cake.

    Robertson said it is “OK” to dump your spouse if they’re suffering from Alzheimer’s because “they’re already dead.” File for divorce and start fucking.

    The ugly, hideous fact of radical, rightwing Christianity is on display for all to see.

  • Auntie Dogma

    That Johann Hari, who has been generally a credit to and a strong advocate on behalf of the LGBT community, beats North Carolina shows how skewed you Queerty types are. Get a clue. Drop the tabloid sensationalism.

  • Bryan

    With all due respect do you really think a journo(whether he’s gay or not) accused of plagiarism deserves the tag of “douche of the week” more than the people behind events that have taken place this year which affect a lot more gay people than some journos readers. Really? This is kinda bizarre.

  • Loren

    @christopher di spirito:

    Yeah, wasn’t it not too long ago that you were spewing anti-Asian racism on Queerty?


    Hari should skip the journalism courses. His career as a journalist is over UNLESS he becomes a right wing pundit. Face facts. If you a right winger, you can literally be a racist, anti-semite, appear on interview on Neo-Nazi radio programs and still be a respected pundit. Just ask Pat Buchanan. He’s all those things and worse.

  • CBRad

    Hari can just replace Jayson Blair at the New York Times.

  • Shannon1981

    While what he did was obviously reprehensible, I don’t think it is deserving of the Douche of the Week award. I live right down the way from the monsters in NC, who, IMO ruined Pride with a bunch of sanctimonious rules, as well as the obvious bill to ban Marriage Equality permanently. Focus on those who are really hurting us, please.

    Now, that being said, that was a piss poor apology and this dude should be ashamed.

  • christopher di spirito

    @Loren: Yeah, wasn’t it not too long ago that you were spewing racist bile on Queerty worthy of the KKK?

  • Polyboy

    Sorry, NC wins. This guy is just stupid.

  • Shannon1981

    @Polyboy: Yep. NC and SC are becoming more and more anti gay by the day. They even cancelled my Pride performance. Their reason? Too risque. (read: too gay).

  • CBRad

    @Shannon1981: Well……was it ?

  • Shannon1981

    No. I was gonna do a mash up of 2 GaGa song and Adam Lambert’s For Your Entertainment, in which I kissed a woman at the end. Nothing overly revealing costume wise or anything like that. Just singing and dancing.

  • CBRad

    @Shannon1981: Thnx. I hear you.

  • Shannon1981

    @CBRad: Thanks. I was just really disappointed. Still went to Pride, of course, but you’d have thought you were at a children’s theater, the acts that were allowed were so tame. It’s really sad.

  • CBRad

    @Shannon1981: I get you. That is a bummer. Maybe you’ll yet get to do it some other place and time.

  • Chacha


    Interesting you should mention the New York Times. They published an article by Johann Hari today: a book review of Thomas Keneally’s ‘Three Famines’. The accompanying text describes him as ‘a writer for the Independent of London and Slate’.

    He’s obviously really serious about this ‘taking a break, taking classes, and mending his ways’ stuff.

  • CBRad

    @Chacha: Oh, you’re kidding ?! The poor NY Times has this unfortunate habit of hiring fibbers. And to review a book on THAT subject, yet ?? Thnx for the info.

  • Mymomsaysimawesome

    Really? Plagiarism hurts who exactly? I find it hard to believe there is such a shortage in douches. This sounds more Iike a certain jealous queerty writer :-p

  • Shannon1981

    @CBRad: I graduate in December and I am moving to San Francisco. I know the acts out there are more professional/high brow, but hopefully they take my previous acting/music/theater experience into account and allow it. Thanks for the support!

    @Mymomsaysimawesome: Plagiarism is never ok. However, I agree that this guy is not worthy of Douche of the Week. Too many much more harmful douches out there to waste the weekly post on this washed up journalist.

  • Mark

    The plagiarism row revealed his other sins, one was creating wikipedia sock puppets to massage his own page and trash the reputation of rivals – habit he maintained over several years. One of the victims was Cristina Odone, the deputy editor of the magazine, the New Statesman, that gave him a big break. Both she and the New Statesman are pretty mad about this betrayal. Odone who was labeled an anti-semite and a drunk has pointed out that neither she now any of the other victims has received a personal apology. As I’m not American, I’m not sure of the exact definition of a ‘douche’ but obsessively editing wikipedia to rubbish people does seem beneath the dignity of journalists who have columns on major newspapers.

  • Shannon1981

    @Mark: A douche is anyone who is just a bad person all around for any number of reasons. On the internet, and, specifically, with regards to a site like this one, the gay internet, that would mean homophobes, people who set the gay community back, etc. While what this person did is awful, no doubt, I think the likes of rethuglican’t politicians working to make our very existences illegal- and with the impending 2012 election, there is no shortage of them- are much more deserving of this title Douche of the Week than this dude IMHO.

  • CBRad

    @Shannon1981: Shannon : Even if the standards are higher in San Francisco, you might as well go for it!

  • Mark


    Its a big story in British media circles as he was the most successful young journalist in the country but surprised that it would bother anyone beyond these shores

  • Will

    THIS beats out North Carolina?


    Good thing you left GETEqual.

    Your priorities SUCK

  • SteveC

    Johann Hari behaved in a lazy and dishonest way for sure. But Douche of the Week? North Carolina wins that one.

  • Lefty

    I wonder if anyone else would like to reiterate the point that North Carolina is a bigger douche this week than Johann “I made shit up to support a war” Hari?
    Come along, don’t be shy!

  • the crustybastard

    Douche of the week are the 10 North Carolina Democrats who joined the Republican gay bashing.

  • Shannon1981

    @CBRad: Oh, I intend to! No shame here LOL. Pride is about the entire Queer community and our allies celebrating ourselves and each other. Also, I have acting and theater experience.

    @Mark: yeah no idea why this is being reported here. and, once again, redo this Douche of the Week, Queerty. NC takes the cake.

  • Jason

    Even if 100 aspiring journalists who looked up to Hari had their dreams crushed, it would still pale in comparison to the 1 gay basher that beat someone up or 1 legislator who voted to take our rights away.

  • JoeyB

    Scumbags come in all sizes, shapes, backgrounds and sexual orientations. Those of you defending him just cause he’s gay, get over it!

  • Trip

    “It’s a rare day that we would consider giving the prestigious Douche of the Week award to a member of our own community.” Why, Queerty? Gay douchebags abound, and if you want to be taken seriously, you should examine within the community as well as without.

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