I Really Tried to Reason with HuffPo. Really.
I received a long letter from HuffPo late Tuesday evening confirming my termination, which ended with, "Again, I ask that you not print this out of respect for our professional relationship."
The next morning I decided the whole situation was ridiculous and could also hurt HuffPo, so I wrote the following:
"I've had a chance to sleep on this and what you told me. The situation is unacceptable and I would like you to reconsider your decision. Please contact me asap. I also urge you to discuss this letter with Arianna."
"I spent three months working almost full-time on writing over 60 attention grabbing blogs and received about 10% of Huffington Post's readership. I have the data. This generated significant advertising revenue for Huffington Post."
"Because I wrote an investigative article about an anonymous heckler who had been stalking my blog (who had actually challenged me to write about him), and who turned out to be the Huffington Post’s own technology manager, I was terminated. Since you deleted this blog post, then locked me out from posting, you can't really claim anything else. The Huffington Post didn't even give me a chance to inform my readers on which blog they could find me in the future. "
"Seriously, I have loved working with you, and I just have to tell you personally, since I have done marketing and crisis management for my entire live; HuffPo has made a critical, amateurish error in judgment. You really need to get professional advice."
After receiving a noncommittal response, I wrote again: "OK, I have been through too many similar situations in the past. Lesson is that companies don't change their mind and they will always try to claim the whistleblower was the one who did something wrong. HuffPo certainly has the resources to do that, so I can't be a sitting duck. Talk to Arianna, let me know in next hour what the deal is!"
And I was told, "Peter....please don't give me time limits - I'm doing my best here! I've been up since 5:30am! Don't lump us in with other companies."
Within an hour, however, I got a call back and was told that Arianna was in Cannes and couldn't be reached and there was nothing that could be done.
One of my concerns was that Huffington Post wouldn't even allow me to leave a final post, telling my HuffPo readers where they could find my new blog. So my only choice became to send out a press release. You can find it here.
But I guess I must have offended the technology gods in the universe by writing about one of them. Shortly after my press release went out, my firstname.lastname@example.org email account was blocked, and then my internet and phone service stopped working.
Today I got the explanation when Hotmail wrote the following to me:
"Thank you for writing to MSN Hotmail Technical Support.
This is Erickson and you mentioned that your account has been locked because you sent a lot of e-mail messages. I know how important it is to regain access to your account. Please let me assist you.
We have checked your email@example.com and were able to find out the cause of the problem. Your account has been closed because it is possible that an unauthorized person may have accessed your account and sent messages to your contacts."
At least my hotmail account is up and working again. On Saturday a technician will come and try to find out why my internet connection doesn't work. I hope he doesn't know that the technology gods have put a spell on me since I wrote that blog . . .