When blogging gets scary: my bout with the bullies who plagiarized my work

When blogging gets scary: my bout with the bullies who plagiarized my work

I’m a blogger, not a fighter.

I enjoy blogging and often criticize myself for not blogging often and frequently enough. Between managing my household and family of daughters plus my husband and my mom who recently moved in with us, in addition to being a fitness instructor and a network marketer, I often lament about there not being enough hours in the day. Yet one of the unspoken gems of network marketing is that you are mentored by leaders in the industry who teach you that everyone has the exact same 24-hours in a day, so if you are unsuccessful with your efforts, it’s not time, it’s you.

I am convicted by these words so I vow to do better, and then I find myself back in my rut of finding time for blogging.

Inspiration is what breaks me out of my mold. Something mundane can just turn my lightbulb on and I’m sprinting for my laptop like the psalmist’s deer who pants after streams of water. There are times I long for blogging.

That’s kind of like what happened to me this week. I hadn’t been blogging in a while and I was feeling the usual guilt and gut check reminding me, “You haven’t written anything in a while.”

“You need to be blogging.”

And as luck and the writing God’s would have it, inspiration struck in a most unlikely way. I got an email from a stranger alerting me that someone from an online magazine, Veteran’s Today, had plagiarized my work.

“Really?” I thought.

“My work???”

What had I said that was worth plagiarizing?

Now, here’s where I should have paused and contacted my editor from ChicagoNow immediately because it never occurred to me who the person was that emailed me.   To this day, I still don’t understand any of this. All I know is, I got an email from a person I do not know telling me he recognized my work and knew it had been plagiarized.

From there, I did what bloggers do: I began blogging.

I enjoy blogging. My work being plagiarized? Not so much...

I enjoy blogging. My work being plagiarized? Not so much…

When I first wrote the blog, I was asking for help because I didn’t know what to do. Then, after sleeping on it, I realized I didn’t need any help, so I changed the title from “Help! Someone stole content from my blog,” to something emphatic merely stating that my work had been plagiarized. You can read my original post here.

Like any modern day social media person does, I also posted a link on my Facebook page sharing that someone had taken my content.  But, one of my friends took it upon themselves to write the magazine and let them know they’d used my written words without my permission.  My friend told me she’d gotten a response from a Mic Alteredego and that they had fired the person who submitted the article.  Honestly, I didn’t even fully take the emailed response to my friend seriously, first because of the name of the person who responded, and secondly because the writing was so elementary I thought the whole thing was farcical, and even thanked my friend but told them so as well.

I thought it was over, especially since Mr. Alteredego gave the impression he’d handled it all.

Well, it didn’t end there like I thought it would have.

The next thing I know, three days later I’m getting a Facebook friend request from the gentleman (and I use this term merely out of professionalism) who plagiarized or submitted or copied or whatever verb you’d like, without my permission. Now, in the past, I’ve learned to be careful and skeptical about accepting friend requests from people who’ve read my blog because they’ve gone on my page harassing my friends and posting all kinds of crazy stuff on my page.

Lesson learned. I ain’t accepting no more requests from people that aren’t my friends.

While having the person I referenced in my blog contact me via my inbox was tacky and unprofessional to me given the fact that my blog has my email address, plus the fact that I’m also on LinkedIn, I did feel somewhat remorseful and reflective about how I’d handled the entire situation. I thought, if I want to be a blogger and seen as a credible, professional writer, the first thing I could have done was contact my editor here at ChicagoNow, and the writers of Veteran’s Today magazine. I realized that perhaps I’d skipped some steps.

But things just weren’t making sense about all of this.

Why did the man email me to tell me about Chris Ford? How did he know he’d plagiarized MY work? Who is Chris Ford? Who is the anonymous man? I couldn’t find Ford on FB. I couldn’t find more info about the magazine other than what I mentioned in my first blog so I was just baffled wondering how I got associated with these people.

Well, the battle continues.

Here’s how it all went down:

From: Rachel McBreezy
Sent: Monday, June 26, 2017 4:12 PM
To:[email protected]
Subject: your magazine and writers

The article that was submitted by Chris Ford and posted in your magazine was actually an article my co-worker did a few years ago. Her name is Elana Anthony and she is pretty upset that Mr. Ford would steal her work and then the magazine would publish without even acknowledging the true author behind article.

My friend sent that Monday afternoon and was given an immediate response. Here it is:

On Mon, Jun 26, 2017 at 5:44 PM, <[email protected]> wrote:

Mrs. McBreezy,

Yes, Mr. Ford did submit this article to our magazine but the department that handled the publishing inadvertently did not put Ms. Anthony’s name on it even though Mr. Ford did when he submitted the article to us. If you spent any time reading the magazine you will see it is a rough draft with numerous editorial mistakes. I can assure you it was never the intention of Veterans Today Magazine or Mr. Ford to steal Ms. Anthony’s intellectual material.  Truly this was an oversight and we would like to extend to Ms. Anthony our sincerest apologies.

In the August edition, we will make sure there is a corrective statement that gives Ms. Anthony full credit for that article. We have also acted regarding the employee responsible for this mistake as we consider plagiarism or the resemblance thereof rather despicable.

You should note that Mr. Ford was very pleased by the work of Ms. Anthony especially the article about Facebook Bashing.

Veterans Today Magazine is currently looking for good freelance writers to get paid for articles as it takes off and would enjoy the opportunity to connect with Ms. Anthony on that level. Again, please send our most sincere apologies to Ms. Anthony and if she is interested in writing for us in the future to please contact me directly.

Thank you for your concerns regarding this issue it is appreciated when things of this nature are brought to light.

 

After having these messages forwarded to me, I wondered why they never made any direct contact with me.

Three days later is when I got the friend request from Chris Ford, which I never accepted, and then shortly thereafter Mr. Alteredgo, who sent this to my Facebook inbox.

I am Mic Alteredego – yes, it is a nom de plume and with the way some folks behave I can tell you I will never publish my real name in a public forum. If my use of a pen name bothers you then you should throw out 2/3 of your music collection and nearly half of the books in the library. That would include the children’s books by Dr. Suess and several other beloved authors. Never in my life did I think I would have to defend my integrity and personal reputation against the filth that seems to congregate on Facebook and most any web page that engages its’ readers through social media and allows for unchecked/ unmoderated commentary. There was a problem with the ownership of an article that was published in our June demo issue. Author credit was at first not placed with the article for the correct writer as appropriate, as soon as this was brought to our attention we sent the following email to a friend of the writer in response to his concerns. Mr. McBride, Yes, Mr. Ford did submit this article to our magazine but the department that handled the publishing inadvertently did not put Ms. Anthony’s name on it even though Mr. Ford did when he submitted the article to us. If you spent any time reading the magazine you will see it is a rough draft with numerous editorial mistakes. I can assure you it was never the intention of Veterans Today Magazine or Mr. Ford to steal Ms. Anthony’s intellectual material. Truly this was an oversight and we would like to extend to Ms. Anthony our sincerest apologies. In the August edition, we will make sure there is a corrective statement that gives Ms. Anthony full credit for that article. We have also acted regarding the employee responsible for this mistake as we consider plagiarism or the resemblance thereof rather despicable. You should note that Mr. Ford was very pleased by the work of Ms. Anthony especially the article about Facebook Bashing. Veterans Today Magazine is currently looking for good freelance writers to get paid for articles as it takes off and would enjoy the opportunity to connect with Ms. Anthony on that level. Again, please send our most sincere apologies to Ms. Anthony and if she is interested in writing for us in the future to please contact me directly. Thank you for your concerns regarding this issue it is appreciated when things of this nature are brought to light. Sincerely, Mic Alteredego, COO Managing Art/ Design Director

At no point am I addressed directly.

But it goes on. I then get this–all via inbox from McAltered Ego.

This was a submitted article we take responsibility for only the fact that we didn’t include the original author in the credit section of the article as we are not responsible for content submitted by readers. The error that occurred was a result of an oversight within the editing department and has since been resolved. Although the publication has made repeated attempts to contact Elana Anthony, she has chosen to ignore the fact that mistakes have been corrected and that we have apologized for what has happened. She instead decided to belittle the writing abilities of our staff when she clearly did not read the magazine and decided to create further issues by making it seem a racial matter. I don’t care what color you are and frankly it is rather ignorant and racist to assume that the entire staff are old white republicans, and further to make this editorial mistake about race in any way is despicable and unbecoming of a professional in any business. Should we in kind implicate that you stand with some sort of radical African American group that believe all white people should cease to exist, we would be instantly branded as racist.

<<Insert pause to ponder…“radical African American group?” “…all white people cease to exist?”>>

But wait, there’s more…

But alas, despite your efforts to brand us as some sort of new KKK or white supremacy publication you are easily proven wrong by anyone with enough sense to disseminate information. This article has been removed as it was unfortunately written by a person who has just as much hate and discontent in her heart as the people she wrote about in her blog entry – “Bashing on social media isn’t cool”- and despite the publications best efforts to reach out to this writer and correct the issue with her directly she has decided to make it her mission to slander Veterans Today Magazine. I again apologize deeply for the editorial mistake, I had put my publishing department under a deadline that created difficulty for them to do their due diligence.  As of 06/28/2017 the article has been completely removed from our demo issue and a correction statement has been placed on our website and shall remain for 7 days(07/06/2017) on the front page, then it will be archived but not inaccessible, hiding mistakes are far worse than making them in the first place.  However, due to the slanderous behavior and lack of return contact from the author towards this magazine, her article will not be featured in August nor will we run any corrective statement within the published version of the magazine.  We are not an organization that wishes to defraud or victimized anyone, least of all veterans which is a group that includes many of the folks on our staff.  Our mission statement from our website says, “Just as our veterans served with honor and integrity, we shall serve the same.” This is a statement we live by at Veterans Today Magazine which is why as soon as we learned of the mistake we took steps to reach out to the author and correct the issue. I could continue for quite some time about the various levels of spiteful behavior and defamation of my character I have had to put up with on a private and personal level since the start of this publication, and I find it heart breaking that so many people would rather make assumptions and post hateful and hurtful comments than approaching myself and or my publication in a professional manner.”

It's bad enough you stole my work, but the least you could do is spell Dr. Seuss correctly Mr. AlteredEgo.

It’s bad enough you stole my work, but the least you could do is spell Dr. Seuss correctly Mr. AlteredEgo.

W-H-O-A….

Sending me 2 friend requests is “repeated attempts”?

Me blogging that you plagiarized MY work is slanderous?

And now you aren’t going to publish my work in your magazine in August?

STOP THE PRESSES. 

Really, STOP!!!!

I never asked nor gave you permission to publish my work anywhere anytime!!!

So, here’s where I stand with all of this.

When I did reach out to my CN team to inquire how plagiarism is handled, it was suggested I make mention to the magazine to pay me for my work, but you know what? Like I said in my previous blog I’ll repeat once again:

I don’t want anything from these people, and these people being whoever writes and works for Veteran’s Today magazine whether they are white, red, yellow, or brown because the color of their skin has nothing to do with the content of their character–except when you look at the magazine, as I have, you will see that no one of color is represented there, and if you research the views of Veteran’s Today magazine, you will see that they were in fact unjustifiably critical of Michelle Obama and what she did on a past Veteran’s Day celebrations–which is just as silly and absurd as our current president who went on and on about how he wasn’t going to play golf like Obama did and yet he’s played more golf in his first 100 days or so than poor Tiger’s had a chance to play in years.

Yes, I even went so far as to include Tiger. 

But I digress.

And if you think I went on a political tirade before, then you ain’t seen nothing yet because I’ve got more!

Yeah, I SAID IT and not under some pseudonym.

Yeah, I SAID IT and not under some pseudonym.

I get so sick and tired of these Republicans living in glass houses throwing stones. All these people had to do was take down that article, or give me credit, or contact me directly in a professional way via email or LinkedIn or to ChicagoNow, and apologize. Never was I spoken to directly with any sincerity or genuine remorse for their unprofessional behavior.

How dare you act like sending me a friend request is your way of making amends?

YOU ARE NOT MY FRIENDS!

It’s bad enough I have to watch the orange clown with his antics and crackhead tweets, but you won’t bully me or my blog or my character. Now if you wanna throw some religion up in here I suggest we agree to disagree, turn the other cheek, and keep it moving. But if I find one word of my written work in your magazine that does not credit or reference me, then we can just let the organizations that deal with slander, cyberbullying, and racism address this.

As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.

Good bye and good riddance!


About me: I’m a wife and mom of six daughters known as the “Fitness Evangelist” because of my ability to take fitness classes to the next level by incorporating scripture, faith, and action.  I am proud of the work I do and working daily to improve my life. I can also help people with their health and fitness goals any where in the world through my business with Total Life Changes. For more information about me, you can visit my website at http://elanainspires.com or go directly to my TLC website for product information http://totallifechanges.com/elanainspires.

Like what you read? Type your email address in the box and click the “Create Subscription” button to subscribe to my blog, “The Everyday Me.” My list is completely spam free, and you can opt out at any time.

[“Source-chicagonow”]