UPDATE: David Seaman says he has been brought back on board at Business Insider, and that he has picked up a gig writing for Suicide Girls.
Business Insider contributor David Seaman, one of the Web's most-read critics of the controversial National Defense Authorization Act and Stop Online Piracy Act, was let go by the news outlet Monday following a spat with NBC News community manager Anthony Quintano.
Seaman's unexpected dismissal arrived in the form of a short e-mail message sent by a BI editor at 1:58 p.m. Monday.
Thanks for your note, the editor wrote to Seaman. I think it might be best if we revoked your account for now. We've drastically cut back on our contributors recently and while we really appreciate your posts there have been far too many of these types of contentious issues lately.
Seaman, who was not paid by BI for his articles, spoke with the International Business Times via phone less than an hour after he received the e-mail.
I have no ill will against Business Insider, he said. It's been a great opportunity that they allowed me to write about this stuff for so long, and to draw attention to NDAA and SOPA. But I am disappointed that when I started to go after a powerful news organization like NBC news -- even though my claims were pretty well-sourced -- that it was over.
Seaman's issues with NBC News, which is not affiliated with Business Insider, are rooted in an allegation by Quintano that Seaman had been spamming the network's articles with irrelevant postings about NDAA, SOPA and other issues.
Seaman says he had posted a moderate number of comments on NBC News articles over the past week, imploring the network to cover NDAA and SOPA instead of celebrity news and other issues. Quintano, who did not immediately respond to a request to comment on this article, maintains that the number of comments made by Seaman was significant enough to qualify as spam, and therefore he blocked Seaman from posting comments on NBC News articles.
Seaman, infuriated by Quintano's move, wrote an article for Business Insider Sunday alleging that his being blocked amounted to censorship due to his opinions about the controversial legislation. NBC Universal has gone on the record as being in support of SOPA, as Seaman reported in a previous article.
This morning, I commented on [an NBC News] post that appeared in my feed about a cruise ship accident in Italy (which killed 3), requesting they cover NDAA and SOPA, two of the most important news stories in the United States, and which affect ALL 307 million of us, Seaman wrote in his Jan. 15 article. Less than a minute later, my comment was deleted, and I was blocked from viewing or commenting on any of NBC News' content on Google. The implications of this are scary.
He then went on to implore his readers to flood the NBC News site with comments asking the network to cover SOPA and NDAA.
Quintano responded to Seaman's allegations in a comment posted on his BI article that same day.
I am the community manager for NBC News and would like to report that I am the one who blocked David from our Google page, Quintano said in the comment. What this article fails to say is that David repeatedly 'spammed' our pages with a link to his website on every article we were posting this week. According to our rules on all of our pages we do not tolerate spam and therefore after repeated posting he was blocked.
Seaman denied the claim in a Google+ posting, saying that his claims of spamming were unequivocally untrue. I would challenge him, or anyone at NBC, to produce these spam comments. Let the public decide if I was spamming ... It is also completely untrue that I had 'link to his website on every article we were posting this week.' That is 100% false.
But Quintano went on to say via Google that he would also be contacting Business Insider on your false accusations towards NBC on censorship.
The next thing Seaman knew, he had been dismissed from his contributorship at BI. The reaction on Twitter and Google from his thousands of fans has been swift and supportive.
That support will provide some measure of comfort for Seaman, but one of his Twitter postings Monday afternoon revealed he may still be reeling from the loss.
Hm. 4pm, should be late enough in the day for a glass of whiskey, he tweeted. Not happy about how this played out. Makes me feel sick to my stomach.