Vice has cut ties with a senior writer from its feminist vertical Broadly after a BuzzFeed report revealed that the writer pitched story ideas to then-Breitbart writer Milo Yiannopoulos, and once requested that Yiannopoulos mock a “fat feminist” writer.
Mitchell Sunderland, who at the time he sent emails to Yiannopoulos was managing editor of Broadly, was spotted departing Vice’s offices with a box of his belongings. (Mic saw a photo of Sunderland departing.)
A Vice spokesperson confirmed to Mic that Sunderland was let go Friday, and that Vice is continuing to look into the matter.
On Thursday, BuzzFeed published a massive report about Breitbart and its relationship to white nationalists and the alt-right. In the piece, BuzzFeed reporter Joe Bernstein identified several members of mainstream and left-leaning media outlets who were part of an email chain in which members mocked stories about social justice and liberal causes, pitched ideas to and “tipped” Yiannopoulos story ideas.
The part of the report concerning Sunderland read:
“A long-running email group devoted to mocking stories about the social justice internet included, predictably, Yiannopoulos’s friend Ann Coulter, but also Mitchell Sunderland, a senior staff writer at Broadly, Vice’s women’s channel. According to its “About” page, Broadly “is devoted to representing the multiplicity of women’s experiences. … we provide a sustained focus on the issues that matter most to women.”
“Please mock this fat feminist,” Sunderland wrote to Yiannopoulos in May 2016, along with a link to an article by the New York Times columnist Lindy West, who frequently writes about fat acceptance. And while Sunderland was Broadly’s managing editor, he sent a Broadly video about the Satanic Temple and abortion rights to Tim Gionet with instructions to “do whatever with this on Breitbart. It’s insane.” The next day, Breitbart published an article titled “‘Satanic Temple’ Joins Planned Parenthood in Pro-Abortion Crusade.”
A Vice spokesperson told BuzzFeed in a statement at the time that the company was reviewing the issue.
“We are shocked and disappointed by this highly inappropriate and unprofessional conduct,” Vice told BuzzFeed at the time. “We just learned about this and have begun a formal review into the matter.