YouTubers say WaPo’s Taylor Lorenz falsely claimed she was contacted for comment in Depp-Heard lawsuit story

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Taylor Lorenz, the Washington Post’s internet culture journalist, has come under fire for falsely claiming she had targeted YouTubers in her story about the explosive trial of Johnny Depp-Amber Heard.

On Thursday, following the stunning conclusion of Depp’s successful defamation lawsuit against his ex-wife, Lorenz claimed the real winners were “content creators” who took advantage of the courtroom frenzy with larger followings and spikes in revenue.

“The trial provided a potential glimpse into our future media ecosystem, where content creators serve as the personalities who deliver the news to an increasing number ofs from viewers — and in turn shape the online narrative surrounding major events. Those creators can also make huge personal gains in the process,” Lorenz told readers. “In this new landscape, every major news event becomes an opportunity to gain followers, money and influence. And the Depp-Heard trial showed how the creator-driven news ecosystem can influence public opinion based on platform incentives.”

Her article cites two YouTube personalities, “LegalBytes” host Alyte Mazeika and an anonymous user named ThatUmbrellaGuy. Lorenz claimed that, according to Business Insider, Mazeika “made $5,000 in one week using the content on her YouTube channel for non-stop reporting and trial analysis.” She also claimed ThatUmbrellaGuy “made up to $80,000 last month, according to an estimate by the social analytics company Social Blade.”

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This combination of two separate photos shows actors Johnny Depp, left, and Amber Heard in the closing arguments courtroom at the Fairfax County Circuit Courthouse in Fairfax, Virginia, on Friday, May 27, 2022. (AP Photos/Steve Helber, Pool )

This combination of two separate photos shows actors Johnny Depp, left, and Amber Heard in the closing arguments courtroom at the Fairfax County Circuit Courthouse in Fairfax, Virginia, on Friday, May 27, 2022. (AP Photos/Steve Helber, Pool )
(AP Photos/Steve Helber, Pool)

Included in the paragraph was a statement in brackets: “Mazeika and ThatUmbrellaGuy have not responded to requests for comment.”

Both Mazeika and ThatUmbrellaGuy refuted the statement, saying Lorenz never contacted them before her story was published.

“Um. This says I haven’t responded to requests for comment? I know I’ve been getting a lot of emails in the past two months, but I just double-checked for your name, @TaylorLorenz, and I don’t see any e mail from you,” Mazeika exclaimed the Washington Post columnist. “In addition, I didn’t suddenly turn. I started treating this before the process started.”

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Mazeika accused Lorenz of mischaracterizing Business Insider’s coverage of her, which she also deemed “unfair.” She later provided an update claiming Lorenz contacted her for comment “after the piece was already published and I had to call it out.”

“This is so stupid,” Mazeika wrote.

Lorenz appeared to acknowledge Mazeika’s public complaint, tweeting, “Thanks for replying!” and that she “would be happy to include your comments!”

Washington Post columnist Taylor Lorenz.

Washington Post columnist Taylor Lorenz.
(MSNBC)

ThatUmbrellaGuy similarly named the Post’s article.

“The Washington Post LIED and did NOT contact me until they included me in their Johnny Depp story, despite the fact that they did,” the YouTuber tweeted, sharing timestamps of his tweet and recalling the article and Lorenz’s email sent to him minutes later.

He later continued, “The Washington Post also misrepresented my earnings report FLAGANT and needs to correct it. Social Blade says I made between $4.9k and $79.1k.

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The Washington Post article appeared to have been edited unnoticed, removing the claim that Lorenz had reached out to YouTubers for comment without an editor confirming the change.

The Washington Post did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment. Fox News also reached out to Mazeika and ThatUmbrellaGuy for comment.

Washington Post journalist Taylor Lorenz.

Washington Post journalist Taylor Lorenz.
( (Photo by Eric BARADAT/AFP) (Photo by ERIC BARADAT/AFP via Getty Images) | CNBC Television/YouTube/Screenshot)

Lorenz has long been criticized for her journalistic ethics. In 2020, she repeatedly publicized the 15-year-old daughter of Trump aide Kellyanne Conway for the teen’s outspoken TikTok messages and allegedly contacted the minor directly without her parents’ permission.

Conway recently fired Lorenz for being obsessed with her daughter, calling her “Peter Pan.”

In 2021, Lorenz falsely accused business tech entrepreneur Marc Andreessen of “using the r slur,” which she believes was a mistake.

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In April, she covered up the identity of popular Twitter personality Libs of TikTok just days after denouncing online harassment of women.

Lorenz was ridiculed for her report last month claiming that Nina Jankowicz, who would become the executive director of the Biden administration’s so-called “Disinformation Governance Board,” was the “victim” of “right-wing attacks” like the Department of Homeland. Security shut down the initiative after weeks of fierce resistance.

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