My Thoughts on the Daniel Brusilovsky Situation

Feb 8, 2010

By now, those of you in the social media scene have probably heard of the incident with Daniel Brusilovsky and TechCrunch. For those of you who don’t, here’s a rundown of the situation. Daniel was interning for TechCrunch, and allegedly asked for a Macbook Air in exchange for a post about a startup. TechCrunch found out about it, and fired Daniel, who followed up with a personal statement, admitting that “a line was crossed”, but not quite saying much else.

To be perfectly honest, I’ve been quite intrigued by the whole scenario. I honestly did not know of Daniel before this (though I probably should have), so it was interesting. To see another young blogger do something like this, and the reactions that its received.

Personally, I think what Daniel has done is indefensible. A group of us bloggers in Singapore recently had a meetup where we were just talking about the up-and-coming culture of bloggers asking to be paid. And I’m personally hugely against it. So, that’s where I stand on the whole issue. Daniel was wrong, and deserved to be fired.

The main two things that catch my attention, though, are these.

Firstly, Daniel’s statement. He doesn’t quite admit to anything on this. He says “a line was crossed that should have never been”, but that he “[does] not want to go into details”. He also seems to make excuses, claiming his youth. He then makes a request for privacy. You know what the statement reminds me of? Tiger Woods’ statement after his accident at the end of last year. It feels like a crafted statement, to reveal as little as possible, and try to sweep everything under the rug as quickly as he can.

Dewey Hammond put it perfectly well when he tweeted the following:

Ppl praising @danielbru ask yourself this: After getting caught red-handed what other choice did he have but to apologize?

And that’s what it strikes me as. An apology (not even an apology, but a statement), for the sake of it because he was already busted. Of course, I could be wrong, but personally, reading that, it didn’t seem particularly sincere or remorseful. I’d like for him to come out and be straight about it, and say “I did this. It was wrong, there was no excuse for it.”

Secondly, and more importantly, I think is the fact that lots of people are saying that people should cut him some slack because he is a kid. Yes, he is a kid, but kids can and do take on responsibilities too. (And for what it’s worth, from the way his statement itself is crafted, it seems to me that he’s more than smart enough to have known what he was doing.)

Granted, I’m a couple of years older than him (and am not quite anywhere near his level of fame), but speaking as a kid, I don’t think he should be excused on those grounds. Us “kids” are always asking to be treated and respected as adults, and well, to quote Spiderman, “with great power comes great responsibility”. You can’t have it both ways – you can’t ask to be respected as an adult, but hide behind the image of being a kid if you make a mistake.

If you want to hide behind the label of a kid, stay in the playground. Once you choose to step out, you need to face the responsibilities of being an adult – and own up to your mistakes. It may sound harsh, but that’s my 2 cents.