BuzzFeed Has Apparently Never Heard of Smokey the Bear

BuzzFeed News was forced to issue a correction about Smokey the Bear Tuesday after reporting that the beloved spokesbeast had come in for criticism for promoting fire suppression.

In fact, Smokey — whose motto “Only you can prevent wildfires” is viewable on his Twitter page — focused on fire prevention.

“We’ve deleted this tweet. Smokey Bear fronts a campaign for wildfire prevention, not wildfire suppression,” read the website. “(And yes, his name is actually Smokey Bear)” they added with parentheticals.

Also Read: BuzzFeed Chief to ‘Morning Joe’: ‘In a Normal Country Nobody Watches This Show’ (Video)

We’ve deleted this tweet. Smokey Bear fronts a campaign for wildfire prevention, not wildfire suppression.

(And yes, his name is actually Smokey Bear) pic.twitter.com/8LZdRkZvGf

– BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) November 20, 2018

The parenthetical reminder about Smokey’s name and the broader correction left some wondering whether anyone at BuzzFeed knew who Smokey the Bear even was.

“I’m gobsmacked by this parenthetical,” said Mother Jones editor in chief Clara Jeffrey in a twitter thread. “Siri what are things that happened before 1995, a continuing series. Do you think BuzzFeedNews knows about Woodsy Owl.”

With forest fires in California continuing to rage, the original BuzzFeed tweet had attacked longstanding U.S. protocols of suppressing naturally occurring flame ups — which critics say allows the growth of unnaturally dense underbrush over time.

Also Read: Jim Carrey Burns Trump Over California Fires Tweet in Latest Artwork

“Most experts now agree that a decade-long policy of suppressing fires in forests, a campaign fronted by Smokey Bear, was a bad idea,” the now-deleted BuzzFeed tweet read. “At best, it damaged ecosystems that need to burn from time to time. At worst, it created a tinderbox of unnaturally dense vegetation.”

Smokey the Bear was created by the U.S. Forest Service in 1944 as a way to help curb forrest fires while U.S. firefighters served in World War II. A 2014 ABC News report celebrating Smokey’s 70th birthday said that 96 percent of American’s recognized the bear, putting him in the same category as Santa Claus and Mickey Mouse.

A rep for BuzzFeed did not immediately respond to request for comment from TheWrap.

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Ken Jeong, BuzzFeed, and Sony Partner for YouTube Holiday Special

Actor Ken Jeong is partnering with BuzzFeed, Sony, and YouTube to star in a 30-minute Christmas special, titled “Ken Jeong Cracks Christmas.”

Jeong and his celebrity friends will explore Christmas traditions and unexpected stories behind one of the world’s most celebrated holidays. Guest stars will include Angela Kinsey (“The Office”), Joel McHale and Harry Shum Jr (“Glee”).

“Ken Jeong Cracks Christmas” is executive produced and developed by Justin W. Hochberg. Jeong and Brett Carducci serve as executive producers, Isaac Feder as executive producer and director and Mike O’Connell as co-executive producer. The special is produced by Sony Pictures Television, DK Entertainment and Just Entertainment, and will debut on the BuzzFeed YouTube channel on Dec. 12.

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Check out the trailer below.

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New Line Takes Rights To Viral Social Media Buzzfeed Ghost Story ‘Dear David’

New Line Cinema has snapped up the rights to Dear David, the first urban legend ghost story that unfolded on social media from BuzzFeed contributor Adam Ellis.
Mike Van Waes is attached as the writer, based on a story by Van Waes and Evan Turner. The f…

BuzzFeed Chief to ‘Morning Joe’: ‘In a Normal Country Nobody Watches This Show’ (Video)

BuzzFeed editor-in-chief Ben Smith offered a subtle jab at “Morning Joe” on Friday, telling the show’s hosts and guests that nobody would watch them if we lived in “normal” times.

“In a normal country, nobody watches this show,” he said. “Sorry folks.”

Smith was on set to plug his latest piece, where he attacked “insider political journalism” that he said he was partially responsible for creating during his time at Politico. His remarks about “Morning Joe” came specifically when Associated Press White House reporter Jonathan Lemire drew attention to a conversation Smith said he had with a Brazilian editor about politics.

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“A Brazilian editor once told me that you could tell his country was in political crisis because everyone was talking about politics all the time. In a normal country, nobody cares about politics,” he wrote in the piece.

“And I think that most of all, the political journalism of that crisis is no longer a special genre of journalism, but instead the core of the profession: getting to the truth, explaining the world, and often telling stories with a clear right and wrong.”

Smith — who responsible for breaking the John Edwards $400 haircut story — said that insider journalism epitomized by sports metaphors had become an anachronism in this “new era.”

“The game changer, the horse race, the Hail Mary — apt, perhaps, for the party politics of the 1990s and 2000s — are painfully inadequate for the movement politics of a new era, with higher stakes, higher passions, and far wider interest,” he wrote.

Smith has served as BuzzFeed’s top editor since December 2011.

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Facebook Watch Adds Bloomberg and BuzzFeed News to Lineup

Facebook is set to launch its slate of fully-funded news shows next week, with several programs, including Anderson Cooper’s daily brief, debuting on July 16, the company announced on Wednesday.

CNN and Cooper’s “Full Circle” was part of Facebook’s initial rollout last month, which also included news shows from several outlets: Fox News, Univision, ABC News, Advance Local, ATTN: and Mic. Facebook has added new programs from Bloomberg, BuzzFeed News, NowThis, McClatchy, and TEGNA to its lineup to its lineup as well.

Bloomberg’s “At What Cost?” will be a weekly finance show airing each Wednesday, which will explain how the biggest stories in the business world will impact its viewers. BuzzFeed News’ “Profile” is hosted by NPR’s Audie Cornish, who will be interviewing “the biggest names” in politics, tech, business and entertainment, according to Facebook. The show will air each Sunday night at 9:00 p.m. ET.

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Facebook’s news initiative will be highlighted in its own tab in Facebook Watch, the platform’s original video section which launched last year. The shows, despite being paid for by Facebook, will have “full editorial control,” according to Campbell Brown, Facebook’s head of global news partnerships, in a blog post last month.

“Earlier this year we made a commitment to show news that is trustworthy, informative, and local on Facebook,” said Brown. “As a part of that commitment, we are creating a dedicated section within Watch for news shows produced exclusively for Facebook by news publishers. With this effort, we are testing a destination for high quality and timely news content on the platform.”

Facebook did not disclose how much it is paying to launch its slate of news shows, but a recent Digiday report pegged annual budgets for its daily shows between $5-10 million. For weekly shows — like “Undivided Attn:,” which will look at the biggest issues from the previous week — Facebook is willing to pay between $1-2 million, according to the report.

Also Read: Facebook Watch to Launch News Shows From Anderson Cooper, Fox News, Univision

Facebook’s push into news comes ahead of the 2018 U.S. midterms — and two years after the platform was used by Russian trolls to push misinformation before the 2016 presidential election.

Beyond Bloomberg and BuzzFeed, here’s a look at the other new shows announced by Facebook on Wednesday, with descriptions from the company’s blog.

  • ABC Owned Stations’ More in Common” is a weekly series that will showcase the bridges being built between people of various races, religions, genders and backgrounds in cities and towns across America. The series is part of “Localish,” a national digital-first media brand that brings out the good in America’s cities, launching on ABC platforms this Fall.

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  • McClatchy’s “The War Within” chronicles the lives of retired veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts, who are helping their brothers and sisters in arms cope with the myriad effects of war. Follow America’s next generation of leaders as they forge a path towards healing and positive change for veterans in local communities across the country.
  • NowThis’ “NowThis Morning” is a daily news show which centers on breaking news and topical stories for young audiences. The show aims to spark conversations on the core issues that matter most to young adults today.
  • TEGNA’s “An Imperfect Union” is a weekly series that will travel across the country and bring two people divided on an issue together to collaborate on a community service project, such as cleaning up a park or volunteering at a food bank. Each shares their perspective, as audiences watch to see what happens.
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Judge Suspends Closure of BuzzFeed France

A court in Paris has halted the closure of BuzzFeed France and demanded that the company provide more information about the circumstances surrounding its decision, employees said in tweets Wednesday.

The news was reported by BuzzFeed France journalist David Perrotin, who said that the decision had come from the Tribunal de grande instance de Paris, the country’s largest court.

“BuzzFeed will comply with today’s ruling and provide the Court with additional information, which we believe will further validate our decision to reevaluate our current operations in France,” the company said in a statement. “We remain firm in our intent and committed to providing our employees with the support they need throughout this process.”

Also Read: BuzzFeed France to Shut Down, Company Cuts at Least 12 Jobs

Breaking! A judge has suspended the closing process at BuzzFeed France, until the management explains its decision further with more documents. https://t.co/zekJkLSxhq

— Jules Darmanin (@JulesDrmnn) June 27, 2018

???? BuzzFeed France a obtenu gain de cause. Le TGI de Paris a décidé de suspendre la procédure de licenciement jusqu’à ce que BuzzFeed US nous fournisse les documents nécessaires pour comprendre les raisons de notre fermeture (sous astreinte)

— David Perrotin (@davidperrotin) June 27, 2018

“In the French law, when people are projected to be fired for economic reasons, the employer has to provide justifications for the employee representative(s) to give an informed opinion on the project,” a BuzzFeed France employee told TheWrap.

“We did not think that the justifications were sufficient, so we asked for more. First directly to the company, then we ask a judge to suspend the process until our demands are met. He agreed with us on this and suspended the process until some documents on BF fr’s financial health are given to us. If and when they are, the process will be restarting from scratch.”

Also Read: BuzzFeed to Lay Off 20, Hire 45 in Company Reorganization

Earlier this month, TheWrap reported that BuzzFeed would close its French operation and shed at least a dozen employees. The news came as a surprise to BuzzFeed staff in the country, with many members of editorial tweeting their dismay with the decision.

“Brutal and completely unexpected decision,” tweeted BuzzFeed France journalist Stephane Jourdain at the time. “It’s very sad.”

In a statement to TheWrap at the time, the company said it was reconsidering its presence in the country.

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“We are taking steps to reconsider our operation in France given the uncertain path to growth in the French market,” BuzzFeed said. “We have begun a consultation process with BuzzFeed France and will follow up when we have more information to share.”

In December, BuzzFeed laid off dozens of employees from its office in the United Kingdom, which had been plagued by faltering traffic and budget woes. Talk of an IPO this year largely tapered off as well after the company fell more than $70 million short of a $350 million revenue target for 2017.

Growth has, however, been stronger in recent months.

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BuzzFeed France to Shut Down, Company Cuts at Least 12 Jobs

BuzzFeed will close its entire French operation and lay off at least a dozen employees, an individual with knowledge of the situation told TheWrap.

“We are taking steps to reconsider our operation in France given the uncertain path to growth in the French market,” a spokesperson for the company told TheWrap on Thursday. “We have begun a consultation process with BuzzFeed France and will follow up when we have more information to share.”

“Brutal and completely unexpected decision,” tweeted BuzzFeed France journalist Stephane Jourdain. “It’s very sad.”

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“And I thought that my biggest concern during this maternity leave would be the amount of diapers to change,” the site’s editor-in-chief Cecile Dehesdin, tweeted from maternity leave.

Décision brutale et complètement inattendue. On sort de quatre super mois en terme de trafic et d’infos. @sayseal avait constitué une équipe géniale, hyper impliquée, des super gratteurs que j’ai adoré diriger. C’est très triste.

— Stephane Jourdain (@s_jourdain) June 7, 2018

Et moi qui pensait que mon plus gros souci pendant ce congé maternité serait la quantité de couches à changer…

— Cecile Dehesdin (@sayseal) June 7, 2018

The closure was also reported in the French newspaper Le Monde. Staffers at BuzzFeed France were informed Thursday morning of the news and that the company was re-evaluating the operation in that country.

BuzzFeed France learned the office is closing after a meeting this morning. Management told staff it was part of a “transformation process” at BuzzFeed. All 14 staff expecting they’ll be made redundant.

— Mark Di Stefano ???????? (@MarkDiStef) June 7, 2018

“We are taking initial steps to reconsider our operations there,” said Scott Lamb, BuzzFeed’s vice president of international growth in a company-wide email obtained by TheWrap. “We have questions about whether we can build a sustainable business in France.”

The France decision is the latest in a string of bad news to buffet the company’s international operations. In December, BuzzFeed laid off dozens of employees from its office in the United Kingdom, amid budget shortfalls and declining traffic. The cuts in both offices likely stem from a more than $70 million revenue shortfall of a $350 million target for 2017. Talk of an IPO also tapered off around the same time. Growth has been stronger in recent months.

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‘Dear David’: ‘It’ Producer, BuzzFeed to Develop Horror Film Based on Viral Ghost Story (Exclusive)

“Dear David,” the online ghost story from BuzzFeed writer Adam Ellis, is on its way to the big screen, TheWrap has learned exclusively. BuzzFeed Studios is partnering on the film with “It” producer Dan Lin’s Rideback.

The film, currently named The Untitled “Dear David” Project, will be a high-concept horror thriller based on Ellis’ tweets and images. He says his entire story is true. It began with this message from Ellis on Aug. 7, 2017:

“My apartment is currently being haunted by the ghost of a dead child and he’s trying to kill me.”

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In subsequent tweets, Ellis presented what he said was digital evidence of a boy with part of his head missing — a boy he addresses with the words “Dear David. He said the boy has worried him and his cats, and followed him as far as Japan. Ellis amassed more than 1 million Twitter followers eager to see where the story would go.

“I’ve never been interested in convincing anyone that ghosts are real–I just wanted to tell my story,” Ellis told TheWrap. “If it was all fiction, I probably would’ve updated more than once every couple weeks.”

BuzzFeed and Ellis struck a deal to bring the project to market in partnership with Rideback. Mike Van Waes is attached as the writer, based on a story by Van Waes and Evan Turner. BuzzFeed Studios’ Lauren Dolgan and Hieu Ho will produce alongside Lin and Jonathan Eirich. Turner will serve as executive producer.

In February, TheWrap’s “Shoot This Now” podcast focused on why “Dear David” should be a movie. You can listen on Apple or right here:

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Ellis’ account story was posted as an article on BuzzFeed and continued as an ongoing post titled “Dear David,” which raised questions about whether BuzzFeed or Ellis himself owned the rights to the story — and in whether BuzzFeed was involved in producing the narrative, which, again, Ellis says is true.

Suspicion arose when Ellis posted a screenshot of an Instagram story that included a distorted photo of himself with a friend. Another photo of what looked like a child seemed to have been blended in.

“Nice editing,” one follower wrote, while another added, “I’ve that app.”

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This is what somehow got uploaded to my Instagram story: pic.twitter.com/kr2vBBs4K4

— Adam Ellis (@moby_dickhead) January 17, 2018

pic.twitter.com/np9gHlBhpM

— /pəˈtrɪʃə/???????? (@xprincesspatty) February 12, 2018

On February 6, Ellis announced he was leaving BuzzFeed after four years to focus on “personal projects.”

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His last tweet about Dear David read, “For everyone asking if I’m alive: I’m doing OK! It’s been pretty quiet around here lately and I’ve been trying to focus on work. Of course I’ll keep you updated if anything strange happens, but for now I’m staying busy with drawing and other projects.” This didn’t appease fans at all, and many threatened to unfollow when he started posting unrelated things to the ghost story.

“Dear David” is the newest project on BuzzFeed’s production and development slate. BuzzFeed is in development with Warner Bros. on “Brother Orange,” with Jim Parsons set to star and Ellen DeGeneres and Ilana Glazer to executive produce. “Brother Orange” follows another viral BuzzFeed story in which a man attempts to find his phone when pictures of a man with an Orange tree appear on his iCloud.

BuzzFeed is also in production for an interactive dating series “RelationShipped” for Facebook, as well as Buzzfeed News’ recently announced “Follow This” for Netflix, “The Killing of Jessica Chambers” on Oxygen and “From Russia With Blood” with George Clooney’s Smokehouse Pictures. This is in addition to the company’s digital series that includes “Worth It,” “Ladylike’ and “Buzzfeed Unsolved.”

Lin recently renewed his first-look film deal with Warner Bros. His company, Rideback, was formerly known as Lin Pictures. Lin’s ten-year collaboration with the studio has spawned franchises such as “The LEGO Movie,” “Sherlock Holmes” and “IT.” Rideback is also producing Disney’s upcoming “Aladdin,” starring Will Smith and directed by Guy Ritchie. Rideback also produces the Fox Network series “Lethal Weapon,” based on the hit movie franchise.

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R Kelly Sex Abuse Documentary From BuzzFeed News to Air on Hulu

Hulu and BuzzFeed News are teaming up on a feature length documentary on R. Kelly that will focus on multiple sexual abuse accusations against him.

The documentary will delve into the singer’s alleged systematic abuse and exploitation of young, and sometimes underage, women. It will also feature key figures from the R. Kelly story including unprecedented access to survivors and R. Kelly’s associates. It will air exclusively on Hulu.

BuzzFeed News is producing the film, which will be based on the reporting of music critic Jim DeRogatis and will be directed by Lyric Cabral. DeRogatis, who has covered the singer for more than two decades, wrote a bombshell story last year that painted Kelly as the leader of a “cult,” with the singer controlling every detail in the lives of several women living on his properties. Along with DeRogatis, Buzzfeed deputy national editor Marisa Carroll, who has edited and overseen BuzzFeed News’ coverage of the R. Kelly scandal, will spearhead the project.

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The project was developed by BuzzFeed News’ Linzee Troubh and Shani Hilton. Laura Poitras and Charlotte Cook will serve as executive producers. Poitras directed the 2015 Oscar winning Edward Snowden doc, “Citizenfour.” The project was developed by BuzzFeed News’ Linzee Troubh and Shani Hilton.

Though Kelly was acquitted on child pornography charges in 2008, sexual misconduct accusations have continued to surface. Spotify and Apple recently removed R. Kelly from its playlists following several accusations of sexual misconduct against him.

Kelly’s attorney, assistant, and public relations representative all ditched the singer last month after a new documentary accused him of running a “sex dungeon” that exploited underage girls. In the aftermath, Kelly said he was a “God-fearing man” who was being unfairly skewered by the media in an attempt to “destroy” his legacy.

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