The strange, sad story of when journalists don't disclose their conflicts of interest.

There are few things in life that go as well together as chocolate & peanut butter, mac & cheese, and Vice Magazine & sucking dick. If that's your thing, more power to you, but it's not the the usual function of a news agency.

Sucking dick isn't exclusive to Vice magazine, but it's just what people think of when they read their dog-shit "journalism," which consists of hipsters eating cum on pizza to hipsters eating cum as a dessert. Whatever the topic is, you can rest assured that someone at Vice is finding a way to eat copious amounts of cum to complete it.

Vice cum recipes
Typical hard-hitting Vice journalism.

It was on one such assignment back in June of 2018 when I was contacted by a vice writer named Justin Caffier, who was not writing a story about cum for a change, but instead covering a topic he has a much greater appetite for: bullshit. Except he wasn't eating it himself so much as serving it up for everyone else to shove down our throats.

What a feminist
Justin Caffier - A good boy!

Back in June of 2018, Caffier slid into my DMs on Twitter. He claimed he was a writer for Vice, and when I asked him for some credentials and he said, "the link in my bio is my vice [sic] author page" and even touted his "blue verified checkmark," which at the time, was a distinction reserved for random "influencers" with 3,000 or so followers and a connection at Twitter. Or now, anyone with $8.

Justin clearly couldn't conceive of a universe in which simply saying, "look at this sentence on my bio that I wrote" isn't proof of anything, but I gave him the benefit of doubt because I was feeling charitable and he did happen to mention a few specifics that made me think he was more than just the usual cum-eater from Vice.

Vice cum recipes
Spoiler: Vice is still garbage

He was reaching out for a comment about a harassment campaign of which I've been the target. One of the harassment ringleaders is a guy named Asterios Kokkinos. He was riding the coattails of a guy riding my coattails for years in a smear campaign against me. He's a Facebook Feminist, "good boy," and self-described liberal who has received the endorsement of far-right pizzagate conspiracy dipshits like Mike Cernovich. Asterios spent years harassing me, my friends, sponsors and countless other people in my life. He sends private messages to people he barely knows, slandering me and accusing me of unhinged shit without any evidence. He even added a friend of mine on Facebook after he saw us tagged in a photo. Just the run-of-the-mill creepy stalker shit.

Of course I blocked his account everywhere I could, and when I banned him, Asterios bought targeted ads to harass me and my fans & supporters further:

Asterios targeted harassment

Asterios targeted harassment

Asterios' targeted harassment campaign

And he did this in an effort to make me "scared and uncomfortable" and in his own words, because "this could hurt his book release."

Asterios Kokkinos harassment
Asterios admitting to wanting to cause me damages

He even shared instructions with his followers on how to create fake iTunes accounts which is how people can spam fake or duplicate negative reviews:

Fake iTunes reviews
How to create a fake iTunes account: instructions by Asterios Kokkinos

This went on week after week while he kept escalating and posting on hate forums like Kiwi Farms, where they regularly doxxed me and the girl I was dating at the time. Asterios wouldn't stop his harassment campaign. So you might be wondering: why wasn't there a lawsuit?

So there was a lawsuit.

I took him, his company, business partners and all the principles who enabled or engaged in this harassment to court.

But of course, Asterios painted himself as a poor innocent victim and told people that I sued him because he called me the word "cuck." Yes, that's a totally legitimate reason people get sued, and not the fraud, stalking and targeted harassment, right?

Asterios Kokkinos harassment
Asterios claiming I sued him for calling me a "cuck"

And that's where Justin Caffier comes in. Justin picked up Asterios' narrative and ran with it, without doing a modicum of research, and failed to mention all of the harassment, and instead went for this angle

Vice smears
Justin Caffier ran with this narrative!

To call this framing dishonest would be generous.

When Justin said he was a writer from Vice, that set off alarm bells because Facebook Feminist Asterios is real chummy with another Vice writer, a guy named Mike Pearl who has written such riveting pieces for Vice like, "everything you ever wanted to know about the legalities of pseudo-kiddie porn," which is nothing. I want to know literally nothing about that. Good one, Mike! As if Vice needed to have a worse reputation for their shit-tier, expired, clickbait trash they've been publishing for years:

Mike Pearl from Vice
Mike Pearl, everybody!

I met Mike Pearl several years ago with Asterios when I learned that they were good friends and even roommates. So when Justin reached out, I thought they might be the same person. I asked him about it, "Have we met before, by chance? Are you a friend of Asterios'? I know he had a friend/roommate who worked for VICE a while ago." Here's his response:

Justin knows Mike Pearl alright...
Justin knows Mike Pearl alright...

But that's not all. It turns out that Justin wasn't telling the whole truth of his involvement with Mike and Asterios. I dug a little deeper and found out that they're good friends and even do a podcast together:

Justin knows Mike Pearl alright...
Oops! Justin forgot to mention he's "actually good" friends with Mike Pearl, Asterios' friend and former roommate! Simple oversight.

Ooops! Since Justin didn't disclose this, I became suspicious. What else did he fail to disclose?

If they're good friends, and Justin's met Asterios, it's likely that they've all hung out together. After all, Mike and Asterios were roommates and Justin sees Mike at least once a week to do a podcast. Maybe they all went out and got drinks, went to comedy shows, who knows? What I do know is that Justin was not being forthright.

So I dug a little deeper and it turns out that Justin's relationship goes deeper than just having "met once." Justin has not only met Asterios, but he follows him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram:

Justin Caffier is really interested in Asterios...
Justin Caffier is really interested in Asterios. I don't even follow most of my close friends this much.

I have friends whom I've known for years and like very much, and I still don't "like" their social media pages. That shit's exhausting. So it's pretty telling that Justin, who only followed 6 or so public figures on Facebook, chose to make Asterios one of them. In fact, a deep-dive into the 1,000 or so accounts he follows on Twitter shows that one of the first 100 or so accounts he followed was Asterios'. And Mike Pearl was #6. If they're not best friends, they're very close. So it's entirely likely that Mike has proselitized to Justin on behalf of their mutual friend/acquaintance. And it's not like Justin was doing this for research, as he's been following Asterios for a long time and he doesn't follow me anywhere.

I asked Justin if he'd disclose his relationship to Asterios in the article, and he said he'd run it by his editors, but he implied the concern was a legal one, rather than an ethical one. It's not illegal to not disclose your relationship to your subject, it's unethical and douchey.

Justin Caffier's conflict of interest
Justin clearly doesn't understand the difference between what's ethical and what's legal.

Justin never got back to me about what his editors said, and he went ahead and published the article anyway. But not before he made a subtle threat:

Justin Caffier's threat
A subtle threat. Classy!

Saying he'd "hate to not have" my perspective seems disingenuous. It sounds like something you'd say to someone if they don't acquiesce to your demands. "Nice car. Would hate for something to happen to it." Except in this case, the car is my reputation. Then Justin lied on Twitter and said that I "ghosted" him. That's very misleading. I did give him a statement. In fact, the first thing I said to him was, "almost everything said about me from the other side is false or misleading:"

Looks like a statement to me.
Looks like a statement to me!

Justin chose not to print this statement.

When I found out he was not being forthright about his connection to Asterios and his friend, former Vice writer, roommate and co-host, Mike Pearl, I decided to wait for him to follow up with what his editors said. He never did, and I didn't think Justin was capable of doing a fair or unbiased job of reporting this story. But of course, none of that stopped him from going to print with a bunch of false and misleading bullshit anyway.

This isn't the first time Justin has done a puff piece for one of his friends, either. On June 25, 2018, Justin posted this pic of a mural in LA claiming that only "influencers" with 20k followers or a blue checkmark can take a picture in front of:

Puff piece by Justin Caffier
Failed to disclose: this is marketing for his friend's TV show.

The only problem is, Justin failed to disclose that it's actually a viral marketing stunt for his friend's TV show, Jack Wagner. And that's just the tip of this circle-jerk, because the show is staffed with Vice writers and contributors, including Brandon Dermer and Brandon Wardell. And in case you were wondering about Justin's connection to Jack, he was the second guest on Justin's echoey podcast in March of 2018. In fact, Justin even alludes to Jack's show at 40:35, as Jack nervously tries to move past it by saying the title and platform hadn't been announced yet. That was 3 months before its release, and in case you might think they could be talking about another show, it's the only one Jack is credited with in 2018. So Justin knew the stunt was for his friend's show, posted the original tweet to make it look like it was an authentic mural rather than a marketing piece, and wrote the article without disclosing his relationship to his friends and colleagues who worked on the show. Nice going, shill!

Suffice it to say, I don't trust Justin.

In desparation, he sent another DM to me on Twitter saying that the piece he wrote felt incomplete. So what did he do? Did he set it aside until he got all the facts? Did he do further research to at least check the veracity of the claims made by his acqaintance? Nah. He just published it anyway:

Incomplete? Publish anyway!
Incomplete? Oh well, publish it anyway!

Know why it feels incomplete? That's because it is.

Incomplete? Publish anyway!
Incomplete? Maybe nobody will notice the glaring omissions! Based off Brent Rambo meme.

The article itself was comically bad, misstating basic facts like the name of my podcast, the name of a book he referenced, and he printed countless falsehoods and assumptions, all coming from his obsessed acquaintance.

So meticulous
So meticulous!

There's a lot more detail in this video around the 25 minute mark for those interested:

The facts and details of what actually happened are now public, so I won't go into them here, but that's why I didn't talk to Vice. My already low opinion of the publication is even lower after this bullshit. Add Vice to your ignore list on social media. Don't visit the site and tell your friends not to either. Vice is garbage and they can't go out of business soon enough.

53,944 people still think Vice is garbage.

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