Johann Hari

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Johann Hari
Johann Hari (cropped).jpg
Hari in 2011
Johann Eduard Hari

(1979-01-21) 21 January 1979 (age 42)
Glasgow, Scotland
  • United Kingdom
  • Switzerland
Alma materKing's College, Cambridge
  • Writer
  • journalist
Notable work
Chasing the Scream

Johann Eduard Hari (born 21 January 1979) is a British-Swiss writer and journalist. He has written for publications including The Independent and The Huffington Post, and has written books on the topics of depression, the war on drugs, and the British monarchy.

In 2011, Hari was suspended and then resigned from The Independent after admitting to plagiarism, and making pejorative edits to the Wikipedia pages about journalists who had criticised his conduct.[1]

Early life[edit]

Hari was born in Glasgow, Scotland, to a Scottish mother and Swiss father,[2] before his family relocated to London when he was an infant.[3] Hari was physically abused in his childhood while his father was away and his mother was ill.[4]

According to Hari, he attended the John Lyon School, an independent school affiliated with Harrow School, and then Woodhouse College, a state sixth-form in Finchley.[5] Hari graduated from King's College, Cambridge in 2001 with a double first in social and political sciences.[6]

Early career[edit]

In 2000, Hari was joint winner of The Times Student News Journalist of the Year award for his work on the Cambridge student newspaper Varsity. After university he joined the New Statesman, where he worked between 2001 and 2003, and then wrote two columns a week for The Independent. At the 2003 Press Gazette Awards, he won Young Journalist of the Year.[7] A play by Hari, Going Down in History, was performed at the Garage Theatre in Edinburgh, and his book God Save the Queen? was published by Icon Books in 2002.[7]

In addition to being a columnist for The Independent, Hari's work also appeared in The Huffington Post, New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, The New Republic, The Nation, Le Monde, El Pais, The Sydney Morning Herald and Ha'aretz, and he reported from locations around the world such as Congo and Venezuela.[8] He appeared regularly as an arts critic on the BBC Two programme The Review Show, and was a book critic for Slate. In 2009 he was named by The Daily Telegraph as one of the most influential people on the left in Britain.[9]


In 2011, bloggers at Deterritorial Support Group and editor of Yahoo! Ireland editor Brian Whelan asserted that Hari had plagiarised material published in other interviews and writings by his interview subjects.[10][11][12] For example, a 2009 interview with Afghan women's rights activist Malalai Joya included quotations from her book Raising my Voice in a manner that made them appear as if spoken directly to Hari.[13] Hari initially denied wrongdoing, stating that the unattributed quotes were for clarification and did not present someone else's thoughts as his own.[14][15] However, he later said that his behaviour was "completely wrong" and that "when I interviewed people I often presented things that had been said to other journalists or had been written in books as if they had been said to me, which was not truthful."[16] Hari was suspended for two months from The Independent,[17][1] and he resigned shortly afterwards.[citation needed]

The Media Standards Trust instructed the Council of the Orwell Prize, who had given their 2008 prize to Hari, to examine the allegations.[18][19] Hari returned the prize,[20] though he did not initially return the prize money of £2000.[21] He later offered to repay the sum, but Political Quarterly, which had paid the prize money, instead invited him to make a donation to English PEN, of which George Orwell had been a member. Hari arranged with English PEN to make a donation equal to the value of the prize, to be paid in installments once he returned to work at The Independent.[22] However, he did not return to work there.[citation needed]

Wikipedia smear campaign[edit]

In September 2011, Hari admitted that he had edited articles on Wikipedia about himself and journalists with whom he had had disputes. Posing as a journalist named "David Rose", he added false and defamatory claims to articles about journalists including Nick Cohen, Cristina Odene, Francis Wheen, Andrew Roberts and Niall Ferguson[23] and Oliver Kamm,[24] and edited the article about himself "to make him seem one of the essential writers of our times".[23]

In July 2011, Cohen wrote about the suspicious Wikipedia editing in The Spectator,[23] prompting New Statesman journalist David Allen Green to publish a blog post collecting evidence.[25] This led to a community investigation and "David Rose" was blocked from Wikipedia.[25] Hari published an apology in The Independent, admitting that he had been "David Rose" and writing: "I edited the entries of people I had clashed with in ways that were juvenile or malicious: I called one of them anti-Semitic and homophobic, and the other a drunk. I am mortified to have done this, because it breaches the most basic ethical rule: don’t do to others what you don’t want them to do to you. I apologise to the latter group unreservedly and totally."[26]

Later career[edit]

In January 2012, after leaving The Independent, Hari announced that he was writing a book on the war on drugs, which was subsequently published as Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs.[27][28]

His 2015 TED Talk entitled "Everything you think you know about addiction is wrong" has been viewed over 15 million times (as of 22 February 2020), and lays out the idea that most addictions are functional responses to experiences and a lack of healthy supportive relationships, rather than a simple biological need for a particular substance.[29]

In January 2018, Hari's book Lost Connections on depression and anxiety was published, with Hari citing his childhood issues, career crisis, and experiences with antidepressants and psychotherapy as fuelling his curiosity in the subject.[4] Kirkus Reviews praised the book.[30] Material from the book was criticised by neuroscientist and Guardian writer Dean Burnett, who pointed out that Hari appeared to be reporting as his own discoveries material — such as the biopsychosocial model – that has been common knowledge for decades, and for misrepresenting the medical, psychiatric and scientific establishments as "some shadowy monolithic organisation, in thrall to the drug industry". Burnett's review was based on an excerpt of Lost Connections published in The Guardian.[31] Burnett subsequently claimed that he had been pressured by friends of Hari's at The Guardian to offer Hari a pre-emptive right to reply and, after publication, to link to Hari's attempt at rebuttal.[32]

Personal life[edit]

Hari identifies as gay.[33][34] Hari said "I'm an atheist, but I am in awe of the fact the reaction of the Charleston victims' families is genuinely Christ-like" in reference to the Charleston church shooting.[35]



  • Johann Hari (2002). God Save the Queen?. Icon Books. ISBN 978-1-84046-401-6.
  • Johann Hari (2015). Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs. Bloomsbury. ISBN 978-1-620-408902.
  • Johann Hari (2018). Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression – and the Unexpected Solutions. Bloomsbury. ISBN 978-1-632868305.


  1. ^ a b Deans, Jason (13 July 2011). "Journalist suspended over plagiarism row". The Guardian. p. 10. Retrieved 13 July 2011.
  2. ^ "Johann Hari: 'I failed badly. When you harm people, you should shut up, go away and reflect on what happened'". The Guardian. 2 January 2015.
  3. ^ "About the Author". Chasing The Scream. Retrieved 22 October 2017.
  4. ^ a b Anthony, Andrew (7 January 2018). "Johann Hari: 'I was afraid to dismantle the story about depression and anxiety'". The Observer.
  5. ^ Hari, Johann. "A simple lesson on schools: Money works". Archived from the original on 26 January 2013. Retrieved 11 July 2010.
  6. ^ Adkins, T. S.; Bulmer, N. S. D.; Jones, P. M.; Langley, H. C. (2018). A Register of Admissions to King's College Cambridge, 1934–2010. King's College Cambridge. p. 988.
  7. ^ a b Spanner, Huw (November 2004). "Let The Fiery Columns Glow". Third Way Magazine. pp. 16–19.
  8. ^ Hari, Johann (2015). Chasing The Scream. Bloomsbury USA, New York. p. 180.
  9. ^ Dale, Iain; Brivati, Brian (27 September 2009). "Top 100 most influential Left-wingers: 100-51". The Daily Telegraph. London. Archived from the original on 30 September 2009. Retrieved 6 May 2010.
  10. ^ Sabbagh, Dan (28 June 2011). "Johann Hari denies these accusations of plagiarism". The Guardian. Retrieved 28 June 2011.
  11. ^ O'Neill, Brendan (29 June 2011). "Johann Hari and the tyranny of the 'good lie'". The Telegraph blog. Archived from the original on 2 July 2011. Retrieved 27 September 2011.
  12. ^ Flock, Elizabeth (28 June 2011). "Johann Hari denies he plagiarized, sparking mockery campaign". The Washington Post. Retrieved 28 June 2011.
  13. ^ Dowell, Ben (1 July 2011). "Johann Hari: more plagiarism allegations". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 September 2011.
  14. ^ Hari, Johann. "Interview etiquette". Archived from the original on 30 June 2011. Retrieved 28 June 2011.
  15. ^ Hari, Johann (29 June 2011). "Johann Hari: My journalism is at the centre of a storm. This is what I have learned". The Independent. Retrieved 29 June 2011.
  16. ^ Anthony, Andrew (7 January 2018). "Johann Hari: 'I was afraid to dismantle the story about depression and anxiety'". the Guardian. Retrieved 25 July 2018.
  17. ^ McAthy, Rachel (12 July 2011). "Orwell Prize Council begins investigation into Johann Hari|Johann Hari suspended for two months pending investigation". Mousetrap Media.
  18. ^ Gunter, Joel (30 June 2011). "Orwell Prize Council begins investigation into Johann Hari". Mousetrap Media.
  19. ^ "Media Standards Trust response to Johann Hari allegations" (Press release). Media Standards Trust. 28 June 2011.
  20. ^ "The Orwell Prize and Johann Hari". 28 September 2011.
  21. ^ Pugh, Andrew (27 September 2011). "Johann Hari yet to return Orwell prize £2,000". Press Gazette. Archived from the original on 2 March 2012. Retrieved 25 July 2017.CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  22. ^ "The Orwell Prize and Johann Hari – English PEN". 4 October 2011.
  23. ^ a b c Cohen, Nick (9 July 2011). "Diary". The Spectator. London. Archived from the original on 4 August 2011. Retrieved 28 July 2011.
  24. ^ Thompson, Damian (11 July 2011). "The scandal that will not go away". The Daily Telegraph blog. Archived from the original on 25 August 2011.
  25. ^ a b Allen Green, David (15 September 2011). "The tale of Mr Hari and Dr Rose". New Statesman. Retrieved 22 September 2011.
  26. ^ Hari, Johann (14 September 2011). "A personal apology". The Independent.
  27. ^ Hari, Johann (20 January 2012). "Update". Archived from the original on 18 January 2016. Retrieved 17 April 2012.
  28. ^ "Chasing the Scream". Bloomsbury Publishing.
  29. ^ "TED talk: Everything you thought you knew about addictions is wrong". 18 January 2018.
  30. ^ "Kirkus Review: Lost Connections". 23 January 2018.
  31. ^ Burnett, Dean (9 January 2018). "Is everything Johann Hari knows about depression wrong?". The Guardian. Retrieved 10 January 2018.
  32. ^ Burnett, Dean (22 January 2021). "[Thread] This has come up a few times lately. But it suddenly dawned on me that I'm not employed by the Guardian any more, so can be more honest about how this went down. It's a very strong example of how 'the media' can look after 'their own' so vigorously, no matter the consequences". Retrieved 23 January 2021 – via Twitter.
  33. ^ Hari, Johann (13 December 2002). "Sleeping with the enemy". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 October 2020.
  34. ^ Hari, Johann (1 March 2015). "Has being gay influenced my view of the war on drugs?". Open Democracy. Retrieved 13 October 2020.
  35. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 15 January 2021. Retrieved 15 January 2021.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  36. ^ "AIUK Media Awards: Winners and Nominees 2010". Amnesty International UK. Archived from the original on 14 March 2012. Retrieved 17 April 2012.
  37. ^ "Congo's tragedy: the war the world forgot". 5 May 2006. Retrieved 25 July 2018.
  38. ^ "Johann Hari picks up Martha Gellhorn Prize". Press Gazette blog. London. 24 May 2010. Retrieved 2 July 2010.
  39. ^ "Independent journalist wins Stonewall award". The Independent. London. 7 November 2009. Retrieved 7 November 2009.
  40. ^ "Previous Winners 2009". Comment Awards. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 5 March 2015.
  41. ^ "Winners announced for Environmental Press Awards". Press Gazette. London. 26 November 2008. Archived from the original on 16 June 2011. Retrieved 31 July 2013.
  42. ^ a b "Johann Hari". BBC News. 5 May 2006. Retrieved 6 May 2010.
  43. ^ "The dark side of Dubai". 7 April 2009. Retrieved 25 July 2018.
  44. ^ "British Press Awards: Past Winners". Press Gazette. Archived from the original on 20 March 2012. Retrieved 17 April 2012.
  45. ^ Morris, Sally (15 June 2000). "Future Perfect". The Times. London.

External links[edit]