Charles “Chuck” Johnson, pseudojournalist and (deserved) punching bag du jour, has gained increasing notoriety in the last several days thanks to his self-insertion into the Rolling Stone “Jackie” affair. Johnson was previously known for falling for bad satire involving a New York Times reporter and Playgirl, screwing up Cory Booker’s residency in a piece about his residency, and publishing the addresses of New York Times reporters to show that publishing addresses is wrong and bad, and publishing the name and address of an Ebola victim. He’s trot forth his familiar one-trick pony: a social media profile published (more or less) with reckless abandon and even less care for its relevance. In this familiar refrain, Johnson is Reddit personified: equal parts stream-of-consciousness reporting, crowdsourced-rush-to-judgment, and noxious entitlement.
His latest foray has been widely ridiculed — and for good reason: even if you disbelieve the allegations of “Jackie” set forth in a trainwreck of an excuse for journalism, it’s off-setting to watch Johnson’s giddy dumpster-dive into Jackie’s social media, as he rises with “BREAKING” news of whichever post he found the previous hour, devoid of context and, often, relevance.
So, with irony lost on nobody but Chuck, Gawker’s Deadspin published its own findings from Johnson’s unsecured Facebook profile, wherein he instructed his “resentful” former classmates that they needed to stop contacting him in his newfound days of “notoriety and success.” Johnson responded to an email from Deadspin offering that “the comments about me shitting on the floor were made up.” This tale — that Johnson allegedly defecated on the floor of a dormitory in undergrad — is apparently an old joke tossed about by his detractors at Claremont-McKenna. For what it’s worth, I doubt it’s true.
Deadspin, grasping the irony beyond Johnson’s reach, channeled Johnson’s finesse for speculating wildly from a misinterpretation and satirically asked whether the rather obvious joke was true:
I’d be inclined to believe the guy, or at least give him the benefit of the doubt. But he’s been caught lying many times before, and in the wake of Rolling Stone deputy editor Sean Woods tendering his resignation today, it’s more important than ever to fact check. And so I ask you, dearest readers: Did Chuck Johnson really shit on the floor in college? Please send context, stories, and photos to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Johnson exploded, demanding a retraction on pain of a lawsuit for
defecation defamation of character, and speculating that he may crowdsource funding for his legal efforts (which he’s tried before.)
If the past is any indication — and if Johnson gets remotely competent legal advice — this will never, ever happen. Read more