The identity of the discoverer of Fenn’s treasure has been revealed. Turns out, it’s a 32-year-old medical student and former blogger named Jack Stuef. You might remember him as the guy who wrote about Sarah Palin’s son Trig, whom he mocked for having Down Syndrome:
The student, Jack Stuef, 32, discovered the stash of gold nuggets, gemstones and pre-Columbian artifacts on June 6 in Wyoming, the grandson of the now-deceased antiquities dealer Forrest Fenn wrote on a website dedicated to the treasure.
According to Mr. Stuef’s LinkedIn profile, he graduated from Georgetown University in 2010 and had worked as a journalist and for the satire website The Onion. Mr. Stuef also wrote for the political blog Wonkette, where he caused a firestorm in 2011 when he mocked the son of former Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska, who has Down syndrome. He apologized and left the publication.
If you have no idea what the Fenn Treasure is, give this blog a read. Old man Fenn hid a legitimate treasure chest of gold and jewelry—valued over a million bucks—in wilds of the Rocky Mountains. He offered cryptic clues as to its whereabouts in a poem. Tons of people lost their marbles trying to find this thing. A few people even died. Finally, it was found by a young man named Jack Stuef this summer. But he remained anonymous until Monday. And he’s quite a character.
Jack Stuef wrote for the Onion, which is awesome. But he also wrote for a blog called Wonkette and caused an absolute shitstorm when he referred to Sarah Palin’s son as “retarded” (Trig Palin has Down Syndrome). You can revisit that controversy here. I vaguely remember this happening, but I also remember Family Guy getting some heat for making their own joke about the Palin family. The only clip I could find of the scene is from Bill O’Reilly dumping on Seth McFarlene. This was years before Bill was #MeToo’d to the moon…
Stuef left blogging and went to medical school, but he soon found himself obsessed with the Fenn treasure hunt. This summer, that obsession paid off. Outside has a great article about Stuef, and the effect that this treasure hunt has had on so many other people.
For my part, I’m much more interested in Stuef’s redemption. After all, if there’s anybody who knows how it feels to lose a writing job over a tasteless joke… it’s me. Not sure if you guys are familiar, but I feel like old Jack Stuef and I have a LOT in common. Just a couple of guys who don’t seem to have a great sense of where the line is. Maybe I see myself in this Jack Stuef fella, but I have to say I’m thrilled that he found the treasure. It feels like a victory for disgraced bloggers everywhere. One of us! One of us!!!!
It just goes to show: you can cancel an internet writer for a joke that misses the mark, but you can’t stop him from spending years of his life hunting for, and finding, an old man’s treasure. Talk about a comeback story. I’ll find my treasure chest someday. Not quite ready to give up on the comedy front though. It’ll take a few more scandals to send me into the Rockies.