Alternate Reality

Inside the TechCrunch Child Labor Scandal

Michael Arrington’s revelation that one of his teen bloggers accepted bribes was the tip of a much larger story. We reveal who’s really writing all those TechCrunch posts.

By (@tynanwrites)

February 6, 2010

The story you're about to read is not (entirely) true. It is, however, more accurate than most things on network television.

Silicon Valley was rocked last week by an event unprecedented in its 70-year-history.

Last Thursday, at approximately 9 PM PST, Michael Arrington apologized.

More specifically, the TechCrunch doyenne apologized for the behavior of one of his teenage “interns,” whom he said had accepted bribes in exchange for favorable posts about a startup on the highly trafficked site.

Mr. Arrington, known for his highly entertaining lectures on journalism ethics, fired the intern, deleted all his posts, and vowed to “always maintain complete transparency … on how we operate,” yet inexplicably failed to reveal a single detail about the bribed intern or the name(s) of the companies he took bribes from.

The “intern” has since been identified as Daniel Brusilovsky, age 16, pictured above. His actual job title: “Writer/Events/Business Development.” The bribe he extracted for a single blog post: A MacBook Air. The company that bribed him: Still unknown.

However, eSarcasm has uncovered a more insidious truth. As these photos reveal, TechCrunch has been operating a digital sweatshop in the basement below its swank Palo Alto offices. Here, child “interns” produce blog post after blog post, in a backbreaking daily grind broken up only by potty breaks and nap times.

When asked to comment on our discovery, veteran blog watchers were shocked yet strangely unsurprised.

“Fourth-grade-level prose, fantastical stories that couldn’t possibly be true, the use of invisible friends as sources — suddenly it all makes sense,” said one observer who asked not to be named because he’d like to show his face at Buck’s Diner again. “Now I finally understand TechCrunch.”

Worse, that MacBook was far from the only quid pro quo exchanged for favorable coverage. eSarcasm has obtained a partial list of the bribes accepted by TechCrunch’s child laborers; they include:

  • JuJubes
  • Play-Doh Fun Factory Deluxe Set
  • Mighty Morphin Power Rangers
  • Legos Star Wars Republic Attack Cruiser
  • A boxed set of Hannah Montana DVDs
  • A 2010 Lamborghini Gallardo*

At press time, TechCrunch had failed to respond to repeated requests for comment. Actually, we never bothered to actually contact them. What’s the point – we already know what they would have said. That’s how real journalists operate. Right?

* We’re pretty sure that one was for Mike.

Brusilovsky photo courtesy of Gawker/Valleywag.

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