Get SF Weekly Newsletters

Monday, July 20, 2015

Fallout Over Controversial Gawker Post Continues With Top Level Resignations

Posted By on Mon, Jul 20, 2015 at 10:58 AM

click to enlarge SCOTT BEALE/FLICKR
  • Scott Beale/Flickr

Last week, Gawker published a story detailing Condé Nast CFO David Geithner’s alleged attempt to arrange a sexual assignation with a male escort. The story was widely and harshly condemned online, with journalist Glenn Greenwald calling it “reprehensible beyond belief” and Sabrina Siddiqui, a political reporter at the Guardian, labeling it “disgraceful" — to quote but two critics. Roughly 24 hours later, Gawker CEO Nick Denton ordered the post removed, an unprecedented editorial decision that Denton described as a “close call” among his staff.

Today, Gawker’s executive editor, Tommy Craggs, and editor-in-chief of Gawker.com, Max Read, publicly announced their resignation from the company. Craggs, who edited and approved the Geithner story, sent a memo to Gawker’s staff, saying, “the message was immediately broadcast to the company and to its readers that the responsibility Nick had vested in the executive editor is in fact meaningless, that true power over editorial resides in the whims of the four cringing members of the managing partnership’s Fear and Money Caucus.”

Max Read sent a memo to the managing partnership (led by Denton) that voted to take down the story, stating in part:

That this post was deleted at all is an absolute surrender of Gawker’s claim to “radical transparency”; that non-editorial business executives were given a vote in the decision to remove it is an unacceptable and unprecedented breach of the editorial firewall, and turns Gawker’s claim to be the world’s largest independent media company into, essentially, a joke.

And, for his part, Nick Denton took full responsibility for redacting the story, writing:

This is the company I built. I was ashamed to have my name and Gawker’s associated with a story on the private life of a closeted gay man who some felt had done nothing to warrant the attention. We believe we were within our legal right to publish, but it defied the 2015 editorial mandate to do stories that inspire pride, and made impossible the jobs of those most committed to defending such journalism.

Denton went on to claim that his decision had little to do with advertising (noting that only one advertiser had paused a campaign at the time the story was pulled) but everything to do with preserving the integrity of Gawker's brand.

Wrestler Hulk Hogan is currently suing Gawker for $100 million. Three years ago, the site posted a sex tape featuring Hogan with his best friend's wife. That's the kind of "inspiring" journalism the company needs to get back to.





  • Pin It

Tags: , , , ,

About The Author

Jeremy Lybarger

Comments


Comments are closed.

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed

Like us on Facebook

Slideshows

  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"