Huffington Post contributor Beau Friedlander published a post to that site this morning offering $100,000 to anyone who could produce a sex tape of Glenn Beck, but it didn’t stay online for long. A few hours after it went up the tags were changed from “Politics” to “Comedy,” and soon the entire article was gone. An editor’s note where the post used to be explains that the article “didn’t meet our editorial standards,” though the number of comments, Twitter mentions, and Facebook “likes” continues to grow.
The post presented itself as a challenge to those on the left to dig up dirt in using the same relentless tactics employed by the right.
It is time to pop the tea baggers’ favorite balloon (so what if it will be replaced by another?), and with that in mind I hereby offer to negotiate a $100,000 payday to the person who will come forward with a sex tape or phone records or anything else that succeeds in removing Glenn Beck from the public eye forever. I am not offering the cash myself, but I will broker the deal and/or raise the money for what you bring to the table. (And it better be good.)
(The Observer received a copy of the post in its entirety from Friedlander, and it can be found here.)
Friedlander told The Observer that he wrote the post yesterday in hopes of using the somewhat jokey conceit of a “Glenn Beck sex tape” to address what he sees as a serious threat posed by the Tea Party, as evidenced by the massive Beck-inspired “Restoring Honor” rally held this past weekend. “You knew the wingers would come out against this,” he said. “It was fun to swat them down, with humor of course.”
Friedlander, the former editor-in-chief of Air America and a contributor to the Huffington Post since 2009, said he “understands” why the site pulled the story, but admitted that he’s “bummed” they decided to remove it. “They took it down because they had several editors look at it and they weren’t completely comfortable with what it said,” Friedlander explained. “As a blogger for the Huffington Post, it feel like a scarlet letter on my shirt.”
He added that as of this morning he had the ability to post directly to the site, but after editors removed the post he discovered that this priviledge had been revoked. “Now I have to be reviewed, which kind of blows,” Friedlander said.
Though the post was only accesible for a few hours, Friedlander said he has received over 60 emails in response, including what he calls a “death threat” and a “veiled death threat.”
One such message reads, “Watch your back. God has a way of protecting his children. Let’s see what he has in store for you.”
Another email, this one from “Dirk Diggler,” claimed he had a tape of “Beau Friedlander having sex with a horse, 100% real.” One emailer asked “I have a tape of a three-way with Florence Henderson, Nancy Pelosi, and her illegal hispanic gardener—how much will that get me?”
The page that once hosted Friedlander’s piece still has commenting enabled. Many of these comments came after the editors removed the story, including one that accused the writer of “trolling for a hitman” to take out Beck. The page also indicates that over 1000 people have Tweeted about the story.
UPDATE: The Huffington Post’s Mario Ruiz wrote in with a response: “Beau Friedlander was a passworded blogger, which allowed him to post directly to the site. After reviewing his post on Beck, we decided to remove it, adding the editor’s note. Going forward, his posts will be reviewed by an editor before being published.”
ANOTHER UPDATE: Friedlander posted has a reaction to The Huffington Post, titled “An Apology to Glenn Beck.” He writes: “I was actually trying to mimic what I saw as the way right wingers go about these matters, and by misapprehending the way they do things, I went too far.”