Buzzfeed UK has said it stands by its reporting after Times journalist Peter Yeung accused the website of misquoting him in a report that claimed he had been sacked from the title for “gross misconduct”.
Yeung reportedly published travel and gig reviews on the Times website without editors’ knowledge, according to Buzzfeed.
The website said its article was based on information from five separate sources, three of whom went on the record.
The sources said Yeung “uploaded the reviews to the internal system and then exploited a feature which meant only those who were sent the URL could see the article”.
He allegedly then sent out the reviews “to convince companies to give him perks”, the sources told Buzzfeed.
A senior Times reporter, who was not named, told Buzzfeed the episode was “a pretty dark mark on the Times and our reputation”.
In comments to Buzzfeed, Yeung said: “This is the worst mistake of my life and I’m truly sorry for risking the reputation of the paper.”
“It was an idiotic decision and I’ve rightly lost my job and can’t afford to pay rent. I don’t know what I’m going to do with my life. But it’s what I deserve.”
But Yeung told Press Gazette today: “There are significant inaccuracies in the Buzzfeed story and I have been misquoted. I am seeking legal advice.”
A spokesperson for Buzzfeed said: “We stand by our reporting.”
Yeung started working for the Times in 2016 and has a written a number of exclusives and front page stories.
Many of his stories involved using data journalism techniques, including work on mental health issues in prisons and universities and a joint report on Airbnb hosts breaking the law.
He has also written for the Financial Times, Guardian, Independent and the Telegraph amongst others and was longlisted for the 2017 Orwell Prize for Exposing Britain’s Social Evils.
Yeung has previously written gig reviews on Thom Yorke and Tune Yards for the Times.
A spokesperson for the Times told Buzzfeed UK: “The Times does not comment on personal matters.”