One of Politico’s longtime cybersecurity reporters, Eric Geller, has parted with the outlet under slightly mysterious circumstances — possibly related to a tweet in which he called the late Pope Benedict XVI a “homophobic pedophile protector” and “Hitler Youth alumnus.”
Notably, the controversial Pope, who died on New Year’s Eve, was a Hitler Youth alumnus who spent the bulk of his eight years in the papacy protecting pedophiles. (In fairness, he later claimed he didn’t want to join Hitler Youth, though while saying that he did call someone “a Nazi, but an honest man.”) As for homophobia, we’ll just say that Benedict once called being gay “an intrinsic moral evil.”
On Dec. 31, per the Daily Beast, Geller linked to an obit and tweeted: “Homophobic pedophile protector and Hitler Youth alumnus dead at 95.” Geller deleted the tweet some hours later and apologized, claiming the line had been “offensive” and “in poor judgment.”
A few days after that, Geller removed Politico from his Twitter bio and edited his website, such that references to the site are now in past tense. A source confirmed with the Daily Beast that Geller had left Politico, but it’s unclear whether he was fired or departed of his own accord. Neither Geller nor Politico immediately responded to our emails, and a representative for the outlet told the Daily Beast they could not comment on employment status.
But Politico’s spokesperson Brad Dayspring did publicly comment on Geller’s tweet the night it was sent. Geller’s comment evidently offended conservative pundits, getting an angry retweet from a Daily Signal reporter, and then a GOP comms director, who asked “does this conduct cross any lines at Politico?” The latter tagged Dayspring, who responded: “Yes. The tweet is a clear violation of our social media policy and was both inaccurate and offensive.”
Dayspring did not specify which part of the tweet was “inaccurate.” Maybe he meant more of a lie of omission type inaccuracy, as Geller overlooked Benedict’s hardline opposition to birth control. He also failed to mention the late Pope’s campaign to discourage condom-use for HIV prevention, going so far as to claim condom distribution “aggravates the problem.”
But Dayspring did explain that company policy violations are subject to internal review, and that Geller was indeed being reviewed. The review process “could result in disciplinary action,” he said, “up to and including termination.”