Media Criticism

Gawker Editors Resign, Nick Denton Says He Stepped in to Pull 'Pure Poison' Gay Escort Extortion Story

Says it wasn't helping with Hulk Hogan's lawsuit

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megnut/flickr

Last week, the media gossip site Gawker ran a post about a straight married executive at Conde Nast's alleged attempted tryst with a gay porn star/escort. The anonymous escort who was Gawker's source found out the executive was related to a former Obama cabinet member and wanted to get help with a discrimination complaint he filed with the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development about a landlord in Texas. One tidbit from the story was that Sen. Ted Cruz has previously tried to help the man, a disabled veteran, with his discrimination complaint.

The story earned a lot of blowback—considered by many media observers not to be a newsworthy story but rather a brutal outing and bullying based on a source trying to commit blackmail. The story was pulled the next day by Gawker Media's partnership group, which includes Nick Denton, the founder of Gawker Media, Heather Deitrick, an attorney for the company, and four other ad sales and other executives. The vote came down 4-2, with Deitrick and Gawker's executive editor, Tommy Craggs, voting against it. Gawker's editorial staff recently voted to unionize, and after the story was pulled released a statement condemning the business side of the operation breaching the editorial "firewall." Today, Craggs and Max Read, Gawker's editor-in-chief, resigned over the decision to pull the story.

In a statement to the editorial staff, Denton explained that the decision to pull the story was his:

The Managing Partnership as a whole is responsible for the Company's management and direction, but they do not and should not make editorial decisions. Let me be clear. This was a decision I made as Founder and Publisher—and guardian of the company mission—and  the majority supported me in that decision.

He said he made the decision for the future of the company:

I was thinking in the broadest terms about the future of the company. The choice was a cruel one: a management override that would likely cause a beloved editorial leader to resign on principle; or a story that was pure poison to our reputation just as we go into the Hogan trial.

Gawker Media is facing a lawsuit from professional wrestler and media personality Hulk Hogan for writing about and publishing an excerpt of a sex tape showing Hogan with the then-wife of a radio host on whose show Hogan often appeared and talked about his sex life. Gawker argues the story was newsworthy and served the public interest—Hogan talked about his sex life often and on the Howard Stern Show even denied ever having sex with the women the tape showed he did have sex with.

Newsworthiness and public interest are the two elements with which the exercise of free speech can be exempted from the "publication of private facts" tort that exists in most states, under which you can be sued from publishing "private facts," slightly different from the "is it true and is it interesting" standard Denton has articulated before. In the statement to the editorial staff he described his company's mission as promoting "truth and understanding through the pursuit of the real story."

The Hogan trial was supposed to start two weeks ago, but Gawker won a fight with the FBI over a FOIA request for Hogan sex tapes in the FBI's possession because of an extortion investigation.

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178 responses to “Gawker Editors Resign, Nick Denton Says He Stepped in to Pull 'Pure Poison' Gay Escort Extortion Story

  1. Last week, the media gossip internet septic tank site Gawker

    There. That’s better.

    1. Yes. Accuracy is important.

    2. Septic tanks provide a great deal of utility and value. “Media gossip site” is much more insulting.

      1. Yes, septic tanks contain shit but for treatment and segregation away from areas where it is not wanted, Gawker is about flinging it all over the damn place.

    3. Fair points all, gentlemen.

      Let’s call it the Internet Tire Fire.

      http://webecoist.momtastic.com…..ire-fires/

  2. When Lefties say they’re against bullying, they mean only when it’s not bulling FOR their personal agenda.

    1. In the Alternate H&R Commenter Universe, lefties currently support Gawker.

      1. I can’t imagine what a horrible universe that must be. Everyone must have Spock beards and listen to ukelele bands. What a distopia.

    2. They had no idea when you empower sociopaths like Denton and the rest of his crew and turn them lose on your enemies, they inevitably turn on you. You can’t control sociopaths. The only reason the Left is now panicked over Gawker is because they went after Tim Geitner’s brother. Had the victim of this story not been the bother of an important Democrat, the left wouldn’t care.

      1. How is Denton a sociopath? It looks like he’s one of the ones exercising adult supervision by pulling the story.

        1. You might want to read some more of his statement.

        2. He is only pulling the story because he has to not because he thinks it is wrong. And Denton has said on numerous occasions that he will publish anything, even if it is untrue and regardless of the damage it does to innocent people. Only a sociopath could think that way.

          Denton doesn’t give a flying fuck if his site ruins innocent people’s lives just so long as it gets page hits and makes money.

          1. They used to literally have a part of the website called ‘Gawker Stalker’ where people would send Gawker information about where they spotted random celebrities. Gawker would then compile this into a map, so you could see everywhere a celebrity had been in the recent past.

            It was such an outrageous invasion of privacy that they pulled it down after a Gawker writer named Emily Gould got completely shit on by Jimmy Kimmel when was filling in for Larry King (which is weird in and of itself).

            1. There is a pretty good history in this country of even minor celebrities occasionally meaning murdered by lunatic fans. Gawker put those people in danger by doing it. Denton of course didn’t give a shit because he is a total sociopath.

              1. -1John Lennon

                1. You don’t even have to be a real star like Lennon. Rebecca Shaeffer was a co-star on a minor sitcom and had some lunatic show up at her door one day and murder her.

                2. You don’t even have to be a real star like Lennon. Rebecca Shaeffer was a co-star on a minor sitcom and had some lunatic show up at her door one day and murder her.

                  1. But is this different than what US or People does? When I see those mags in the Dr office I notice a lot of pictures of celebs buying coffee at their local starbucks or out with their kids. I know this is paparazzi stuff but it seems like they are giving out enough info to find where celebs go if you are a stalker.

                    I still don’t know who we’re supposed to root for in this story. Very messy, much douchebaggery.

                    1. Giving real time updates on someone’s location is totally different than publishing a picture of them walking out of their gym three days after the fact.

                    2. Was it “real time” or “recent past”, as stated above? In either case I fail to see how noting a public appearance is “invasion of privacy” – which I thought would be reserved for things that people, you know, want to keep private. And given that most of your examples occurred pre-Gawker, let alone pre-Internet – it’s clear that stalkers are going to find their target regardless.

                    3. They literally had an interactive map of all the places these people had been seen.

                      You have a daily routine, right? Well don’t you think mapping out your daily routine for any potential stalkers would be a bit invasive?

                    4. No, because I don’t have any expectation of privacy when I’m walking around outside in public. If I wanted to stay hidden, I would take extra precautions.

                    5. No, because I don’t have any expectation of privacy when I’m walking around outside in public.

                      Really? Mind, I don’t think anyone’s saying that this is a violation so egregious it should be a police matter, just that it’s totally an asshole thing to do.

                      And I don’t think it’s particularly just to expect people to never go outside or wear disguises to avoid being hounded by scumbags like these.

                    6. I agree it’s an asshole thing to do, but I also think anyone in the spotlight should expect it.

                      As for being hounded – that is an actual crime, under certain circumstances which I am sure one of our lawyers could explain. But I don’t know if “facilitating stalking” – which is what Gawker (arguably) seemed to be doing – is a crime.

                    7. No, because I don’t have any expectation of privacy when I’m walking around outside in public. If I wanted to stay hidden, I would take extra precautions.

                      So I guess you are okay with the cops tracking license plates and tracking your every movement in public with no probable cause. No expectation of privacy right?

                      Who are you Tulpa?

                    8. So I guess you are okay with the cops tracking license plates and tracking your every movement in public with no probable cause.

                      Well, clearly there’s absolutely no difference between state officials acting in their law enforcement capacity and private citizens observing reality, so this analogy is spot on. You really wrecked him there John.

      2. The prevailing standard seems to be that it’s wrong to out someone unless he is actively working to deny gays rights. I’m iffy on that even. I gain nothing by Larry Craig’s life being ruined. I guess there may be an extent to which the outing of antigay bigots has contributed to the cause, but that has to be balanced by basic decency.

        If only the evil left could learn from the never prurient, mean-spirited, or vindictive right. The right wing media sphere, man, truly a beacon of truth and compassion.

        1. Don’t strain yourself lighting up that straw man.

        2. If your best argument is that the other side is just as bad, then you are morally bankrupt and not the superior party.

          1. They are obviously much worse. It never ceases to amaze how totally blind rightwingers can be about themselves. They are nothing but spittle-flecked rage at everything, interested only in demeaning everyone not exactly like them, especially if they are troubled minorities.

    3. Yep. After all, your ox is evil and deserved to be gored.

      Today or tomorrow I’m predicting a Gawker article throwing a hissy over Ben Shapiro filing a poliice report over that trans person threatening to beat him up.

      1. I saw that video. Were I Mr. Shapiro, a midget of a man half the size of that transperson who just laid hands on me and threatened me with physical violence I would be in fear for my safety.

  3. I take back what I’d previously said about wanting to see Gawker tanked. The malingering, embarrassing death throes are so much more entertaining.

  4. I didn’t realize Jezebel and Deadspin were run by Gawker. I am starting to thing people are growing tired of the general nastiness on the left. The whole nutroots thing started over ten years ago. The country has had ten years of Progressive Culture war jihad and are getting tired of it. And Gawker is kind of a symbol of the worst most disgusting excesses of it. I suspect it may end up being sort of a sacrificial lamb and the beginning of the end of all of this.

    1. they also do gizmodo and lifehacker, i09 and jalopnick. They aren’t all left anymore than foxsports is right.

      1. Jaloplink is totally leftist horseshit. It used to be a car site but now it is to car sites what ESPN is to sports channels, i.e. a leftist political network that uses sports as a vehicle to advance its politics.

        1. I read it every day and don’t see it pushing leftism. Sure, lots of their readers would prefer a brown, manual Volvo station wagon with plain steel wheels, but more want a tricked-out Miata or a 700 horsepower Hellcat that kills trees with the sound of its exhaust.

          1. As a general fan of jalop I feel like the general reader wants that volvo, the miata, and the hellcat or at least the opportunity to enjoy all three.

          2. 700 horsepower Hellcat that kills trees with the sound of its exhaust.

            But how well does it do in the corners?

            1. Where its going there are no corners.

        2. Jaloplink is totally leftist horseshit

          Really? Jalopnik (and it’s Truck Yeah! offshoot) was one of the last Gawker-affiliated sites I bothered reading because it tended to keep the political TEAM stuff in the background, if mostly non-existent. Foxtrot Alpha was a fun read too, for the exact same reason.

      2. lifehacker

        I used to be a regular at lifehacker until they has a series of 3 or 4 stories that made it clear that people of my political persuasion weren’t welcome. It was around the time that the comments changed.

        1. Me too until a few years back. I left mostly because their content for Mac was weak – I never detected any political stuff. Maybe it started after I left.

          1. Weak Mac content is a plus.

            Then again, strong Windows content is a huge minus.

      3. Yeah, I’m not sure about that. When they want to be political, they are, often with massive cross-postings. And they aren’t doing that with anything rightwing or even libertarianwing.

        1. But to contradict John, I think they are winning. They may eat their own (parallels Stalin, Mao, Nazis, and the French Revolution), but it is now mainstream that you can’t say anything against the culture war. Celebrate Caitlyn or else. Celebrate gay marriage or else. Focus on the trivial like Conferderate Flag and women’s pay differences.

          Don’t even have to be a socon to be on the “wrong side of history” these days.

          1. I dunno, I think the apathy and antipathy to such thinking is heavily in the majority. It’s just that people aren’t willing to get into pissing matches with people who don’t argue in good faith. We endured something similar, albeit less pervasive, with the so-called “Moral Majority” movement in the 80s.

          2. I think Episiarch is onto something below. The way you deal with that is to just refuse to do it. Don’t get angry. Don’t go out of your way to attack Bruce Jenner. You just refuse to participate. For example I will never refer to Bruce Jenner by anything other than Bruce Jenner. That is his name and I don’t care if they say otherwise. I am never going to attack the guy or wish him ill. But I am not going to play along and pretend he is not Bruce Jenner. And I laugh at anyone who thinks that is some kind of a crime.

            If enough people start doing that, they will lose their power. The problem with getting angry and fighting back is that it just gives them a sense of grievance and the ability to change the subject to your fighting back.

            1. Sure, I keep my beliefs and teach my kids what I believe is right and wrong, but they are bombarded by shitty beliefs and behavior every day. I keep quiet around people I don’t know (and I’m not just talking socon beliefs, I don’t share much libertarian belief with others either) because there is too much shitty blowback for not being an obamabot where I live.

              For someone who writes or is in the public eye and doesn’t want to be acceptable but still wants to make a living it must be pretty shitty these days and I don’t see that changing.

            2. I will never refer to Bruce Jenner by anything other than Bruce Jenner.

              What if he had changed his name without the dress? People change their names all the time for reasons you may approve of, or may not. By refusing to use his new name, you ARE making a political statement.

              1. I don’t care if he did change his name. If he did, he did so because he is delusional. I refuse to play along with his delusions.

              2. Would you ask for the greatest hits of cat Stevens or Yusuf Islam?

            3. You know, I was thinking about this the other day, and I could not think of a situation wherein I would ever have to reference Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner ever again in my life. It matters not what he/she claims his/her name to be. I don’t expect I’ll ever use it.

              Except now in this post in response to your post. Thanks a lot, jerk.

            4. John, whatever you think about “gender reassignment,” the fact is that you can change his name, and he did.

              1. Today we learn that John only refers to women by their maiden names, maybe.

                1. I don’t care if you married that Hatfield boy – you were born a McCoy, and your delusional if you think you could ever go by another name.

                2. No. Changing your name because your married or converted to a religion is not a sign of delusion. Therefore calling you by your knew name is not enabling your delusion.

                  He is Bruce Jenner. If you all want to signal your tolerante to the SJWs by calling him Caitlyn and pretending he is a woman, have fun. I don’t do that.

                  1. “Changing your name because your married or converted to a religion is not a sign of delusion.”

                    Depends upon the religion. Islam? Most certainly.

      4. io9 is left wing.

        They don’t cover stuff from Baen or popular military sci-fi yet give endless praise and attention to books middling books like Ancillary Justice.

        io9 also had an SJW freak out about Sansa getting “raped” (having sex on her wedding night with her husband).

        It is the same progressive SJW bullshit you see on Jezabel and Kotaku but applied to sf/f

    2. The country has had ten years of Progressive Culture war jihad and are getting tired of it.

      Yes, and moderate Muslims have been tired of the jihadis for 50 years. It doesn’t mean much unless you’re willing to actually fight for change.

      1. maybe. We will see. But I sense that most people are just tired of this shit. And once that happens, the people doing it stop being cool. And once that happens, they are done.

        1. You do hit on a key difference. Jihadis don’t care about popularity. They just need a critical mass of bodies for fighting. The left runs a beauty pageant.

    3. I think people are honestly tired of the culture war. When one problem is solved, the Progressives creates another one. This creates a culture of fear which then turns into resentment. Slowly but surely we’re starting to see people rebel against those who create conflicts to maintain the culture war.

      1. Most people have better things to do than be pissed off all of the time. Eventually they get tired of being so and turn on the people whose mission in life is to get everyone pissed off.

        1. There is always a new generation of hippies.

      2. It takes two to tango. There couldn’t be KULTUR WAR if there weren’t people willing to take the roles of all sides. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people, of all kinds of persuasions, who love KULTUR WAR. That’s why it’s so pervasive, and why politicians have latched onto it. Because people love it. Even if they hate it, they are often unable to stop themselves from being swept up in it.

        The only way to stop this KULTUR WAR bullshit is to stop participating in it (if you already do) or to try and convince other people to stop. But it’s hard. People love it too much.

        1. Okay. How do you avoid the kulture war when they come after you? You never explain that and I don’t’ see how. What does the guy who likes his confederate flag hanging outside or on his t-shirt supposed to do? If he ignores them, then they come after him and call him a racist. If he says fuck you and flies it anyway, isn’t he fighting the culture war? If he roles over and puts it away, they just move onto something else.

          I would love to stop fighting the culture war. I just don’t see how exactly that is done when the culture warriors come after something you like or do. And they will eventually do that, guaranteed.

          1. Except I don’t think you would actually love to stop fighting the KULTUR WAR. That’s why it’s so pervasive: you think “fighting back” is just defending yourself, but it’s not. It’s you playing the other role, the other side of the KULTUR WAR. And you do enthusiastically.

            To answer your first question, the way you deal with them is one of two options: you either ignore them, or you mock them. Those are the only two intelligent options. Because they *want* you to fight back in the KULTUR WAR way. That fulfills the second partner in the tango. And now you’re KULTUR WAR-ing. You do realize why they hate being ignored or mocked, right? When you completely disregard their KULTUR WAR attempts? Because you are refusing to play their game. And that’s what KULTUR WAR is. A game. A children’s game.

            Don’t play it. To quote WOPR, the only winning move is not to play.

            1. I would love to stop fighting the culture war. And fuck you if you don’t believe me.

              Beyond that, I am pretty sure mocking them is fighting the culture war. I don’t see how its not.

              I agree with you that that is a smart way to fight it. They want us to be angry and they want us to hate each other. When you get angry it gives them a pathetic sense of power. If you just laugh at them and ignore them, they have no answer. Their entire power is based on their ability to be taken seriously and to bully people. When confronted with someone who refuses to be bullied or to even take them seriously, they are powerless.

              I agree with you about that. I just don’t see how that is not fighting the culture war. It is just using different weapons and doing it in a smarter way.

              1. It’s explicitly refusing to fight it. You are refusing to play their game. Everything they want is to get you to fight it their way. You know why? Because they care more. So if you fight it the way they want to fight it, they will win. Because they will persist after you don’t have the energy. That’s exactly why they want it fought on their terms.

                Mocking or ignoring says you refuse to play. You’re refusing to play by their stacked rules. You are refusing to play at all. If you do that, what are they going to do about it?

                1. I see what you are saying. I think you are onto something. It is basically just civil disobedience. And it is a good idea. It is what I have done with this Bruce Jenner thing. I really don’t care about Bruce Jenner. I don’t wish him ill but I also don’t care what he likes to call himself or what clothes he likes to wear. I just ignore the entire issue, but I refuse to play along in their game that he is now “Catilyn” or anything other than a old athlete who likes wearing women’s clothes.

              2. If you just laugh at them and ignore them, they have no answer. Their entire power is based on their ability to be taken seriously and to bully people. When confronted with someone who refuses to be bullied or to even take them seriously, they are powerless.

                What you’re saying would have been a terrific strategy. Five or ten years ago. But, whether people want to admit it or not, the left KULTUR WARRIORS have bullied their way into actual power.

                Try telling Brendan Eich that all he had to do is laugh at them.

                Or maybe Tim Hunt.

                Or some poor slob kicked out of college because his date decided that the fact that he didn’t call her made their drunken sex “rape”.

                1. Yes. Bill. But short of just going and shooting people, I am not sure what else can be done.

          2. If he says fuck you and flies it anyway, isn’t he fighting the culture war?

            Or he can pay no attention and fly his flag. Let the Warriors scream and yell. Who gives a shit?

            1. True but, if I may, what happens when they get the law on their side as we’ve seen with the ‘bake me cake’ incidences?

              1. Same as when you’re charged with any crime. Lawyer up and hope for the best. Trying to reason with a government agency that’s determined to impose its will is a sucker’s game.

                But the topic here is screaming in the private sector and really, who gives a shit? Throw your tantrums, display your rage to all your Facebook friends, write furious comments on the web, I’m busy leading my life and none of that matters to me.

        2. So we could avoid all culture war by simply rolling over and giving the culture warriors what they want? Sorry, it doesn’t work like that. The only way to deal with culture warriors is to tell them to fuck off, but then ZOMG YOURE A KULTUR WARRIOR! And this isn’t dancing, it’s fighting. It only takes one person to start a fight.

          1. So your entire response to what I said is “they started it!”

            You realize what that sounds like, right?

            1. To continue my analogy, it doesn’t matter who starts a fight, only who finishes it.

              Mockery is , as you said, very powerful. Ignoring them OTOH, is dangerous for at least 2 reasons.

              1. Politicians won’t ignore them, they’ll pander to them. That’s how you wind up with affirmative consent laws.

              2. They use mob tactics. Go tell the couple who had to close their restaurant in Indiana to ignore the bomb threats coming from the culture warriors.

            2. we should be the shining beacon of intellectual integrity on the hill. shining beacons don’t come down off the hill to engage with howler monkeys throwing poop.

              1. So when men start being sentenced to decades in prison for screwing some drunk girl that regretted it the next day, what do you say to them? “Sucks to be you, but I gotta keep my beacon shiny.”

                1. I would. Right after calling them a moron for fucking a drunk girl. Keeping your dick in your pants really shouldn’t be a bridge too far, unless you’re the male Sandra Fluke.

                  1. You’re an amoral asshole.

                    1. You’re an immoral asshole. Which is worse?

                    2. I’ve always viewed amorality (or a personal morality) as one of my positive traits.

                    3. I’m with you on that one, Spencer.

                      Also, I find it hard to believe that anyone would not say it’s a stupid move to put your dick in someone that can ruin your life.

                  2. Keeping your dick in your pants really shouldn’t be a bridge too far

                    So is keeping your pussy in your pants and not getting drunk also too far, or is this merely a one-way bridge to personal responsibility?

                    1. So is keeping your pussy in your pants and not getting drunk also too far, or is this merely a one-way bridge to personal responsibility?

                      Nope, I absolutely agree that the bridge goes both way. Unfortunately only one direction is covered with mines.

        3. It takes two to tango. There couldn’t be KULTUR WAR if there weren’t people willing to take the roles of all sides. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people, of all kinds of persuasions, who love KULTUR WAR.

          Bullshit.

          There’s a difference between a thief and the guy he’s trying to rob. And there’s a difference between a bully and the guy he’s trying to push around.

          At this point, the right isn’t really doing a whole lot of pushing around. Yes, I realize they were all too happy to.

          Twenty years ago.

          But, they’ve lost. They don’t have the power to demand compliance anymore. And they largely know it. For the last five or ten years or so, just about every Kulture War attack on others has been initiated from the left.

          1. There’s a difference between a thief and the guy he’s trying to rob.

            It’s okay for the latter to steal because the other guy started it? That’s it, isn’t it.

            And there’s a difference between a bully and the guy he’s trying to push around.

            Oh joy. Yeah, go ahead and play the bully’s game and hit him in the face. Every kid who ever heard that blind stupidity from their parents silently knew that what was probably going to happen instead is that you’d get your ass kicked harder and get detention for it to boot. Mug’s game.

            The intelligent thing to do was study hard, get good grades, parlay that into a lucrative career and go to your high school reunion to seriously discuss housing costs in Austin, where your smoking hot wife would like a place to spend part of the winter.

            1. “Every kid who ever heard that blind stupidity from their parents silently knew that what was probably going to happen instead is that you’d get your ass kicked harder and get detention for it to boot. Mug’s game.”

              I beat the shit out of the guy who tried to bully me, got suspended for five days. So my dad took a week off work and we went down to Destin and went fishing. Good times.

            2. It’s okay for the latter to steal because the other guy started it? That’s it, isn’t it.

              If that’s what you’re getting out of what I said, you’re an abject moron or deliberately obtuse.

              It’s okay for the latter to demand his right to keep his stuff.

              There’s a difference between those attempting to coerce others and those fighting against being coerced.

            3. Yeah, go ahead and play the bully’s game and hit him in the face. Every kid who ever heard that blind stupidity from their parents silently knew that what was probably going to happen instead is that you’d get your ass kicked harder and get detention for it to boot. Mug’s game.

              It is very difficult to say that there is a one size fits all solution to bullying. Every bully is a unique individual (this is not some sort of praise) who has his own motivations for doing it. The general idea of “he enjoys it” is quite correct but also quite inapplicable in practice. Everybody does things he enjoys, what else is new?

              In my experience, when you show a bully that you are more than willing to play his game, and you can play it better than him, then he will stop bullying you. You have to be careful not to be dragged down into the morass of petty playground politics, though. Also, you generally want to avoid any exposure to the adults/authorities, since their sympathy is not something that can be relied upon.

              Keeping your head down is generally the safer approach, but the emotional toll of that can be devastating. Being able to take some ownership of your own life is IMO the superior approach.

            4. The intelligent thing to do was study hard, get good grades, parlay that into a lucrative career and go to your high school reunion to seriously discuss housing costs in Austin, where your smoking hot wife would like a place to spend part of the winter.

              All that money and you’re still obsessing about what the cool kids think of you?

        4. the only way to stop this KULTUR WAR bullshit is to stop participating in it (if you already do) or to try and convince other people to stop.

          I am a white, able-bodied male. I may not be interested in the KULTUR WAR, but the KULTUR WAR is interested in me. I am the epitome of evil.

          1. And now you’re fighting it, On their terms, with their terminology. You’ve already succumbed. You’re part of it now. Enjoy.

            1. There are people who are going to jail for things that are at best badly misunderstood and at worst not worthy of the severity with which they are being treated. The culture war has real victims. I think you’re right on the general idea about how to handle it, but it’s not a truly inconsequential fight.

              1. Yeah, but you look so coolly detached and sophisticated when you march in lockstep with the ascendant orthodoxy, and then lecture everyone who doesn’t on how stupid they are for not going along to get along.

    4. Deadspin used to be excellent back when Will Leitch ran it. Now, it’s good for Drew Magary columns and pretty much nothing else.

    5. I didn’t realize Jezebel and Deadspin were run by Gawker.

      Back before Commie Craggs came on board and Deadspin began its descent into being another progderp hack site, there was an amusing rivalry between the commentariats of those respective sites. The Jezbians thought the Deadspinners were macho blowhards, and the Deadspinners considered the Jezbians to be humorless scolds. One Deadspin commenter summed up Jezebel’s content as follows (paraphrased):

      “ABORTION! PATRIARCHY! ABORTION! ABORTION! MISOGYNY! ABORTION!”

      As I recall, the sites tried some cross-posting of writers around 2008 as a diplomatic exercise, but it didn’t really mitigate the hostility.

  5. the ironic thing is, Gawker sucks more cock than any other “news” site with the exception of Perez Hilton.

    1. And even he thought the story was horseshit.

    2. Pics?

  6. Gawker is amazing because everyone seems to despise them and they’re about to get destroyed by multiple lawsuits.

    Question: Has anyone determined if Geithner is actually gay? The reason I ask is because I’ve seen people saying Gawker ‘outed him,’ but given the source it seems more likely that Gawker took the word of a nutcase based on no evidence that couldn’t have been fabricated by a 16 year old.

    That’s the real danger Gawker’s in. If it turns out the whole story is a fabrication, they just libeled a private citizen.

    1. I think it is pretty questionable if Geitner is actually gay or the story was anything other than a failed blackmail scheme.

      It really doesn’t matter what Geitner is. Gawker is just as horrible no matter the answer.

      1. It does matter legally. If you publish something true about someone (no matter how horrible and unfair your attack might be) it’s your legal right to do so.

        You know what’s not your legal right? Making up a story about a private citizen banging gay prostitutes without any sort of evidence. From a ‘let’s see Gawker burn’ perspective, this is very relevant.

        1. Yep. You can get away with accusing James Franco of being a gay rapist because he’s a public figure but, while I’m no attorney, I find it exceedingly hard to believe that the CFO of Conde Nast is considered to be a public figure.

          1. It is even more subtle than that. Falco being a celebrity makes such information newsworthy. That gets them out of a publishing private facts claim. His public status allows them to avoid a slander suit just so long as they can show they had some reason to think it was true and didn’t know it wasn’t true.

            1. Falco

              He did want Amadeus to rock him. Hmmmm….

              1. There’s gotta be a term for this. Maybe a ‘johno?’

              2. Yeah and he’s been dead for many years 🙁

        2. If you publish something true about someone (no matter how horrible and unfair your attack might be) it’s your legal right to do so.

          Not true. Truth is a defense to libel and slander. There is however another tort known as publishing private facts. information. If a publications publishes private facts about someone that are embarrassing and damaging and have no news value, they are on the hook for the damage it causes.

          1. Public Disclosure: The disclosure of facts must be public. Another way of saying this is that the defendant must “give publicity” to the fact or facts in question.
          2. Private Fact: The fact or facts disclosed must be private, and not generally known.
          3. Offensive to a Reasonable Person: Publication of the private facts in question must be offensive to a reasonable person of ordinary sensibilities.
          4. Not Newsworthy: The facts disclosed must not be newsworthy. Stated differently, the facts disclosed must not be a matter of legitimate public concern.

          http://www.dmlp.org/legal-guid…..vate-facts

          This story fits those elements perfectly.

          1. I mention this below, but I believe courts are extremely reluctant to find the fourth prong. I mean, think about what that means–courts putting themselves into the business of deciding what the press can talk about.

            In this case, being a corporate officer and a sibling of a high-level public official is probably enough to cross that very low bar.

            Defamation is another matter. I’m not even sure he qualifies for that as a “public figure.”

            1. Yeah, the “not newsworthy” criterion seems to be beyond the authority of any court to decide, much like identifying proper “political speech” or “religious expression”.

          2. Hmmm, I did not know that.

            Regardless, I have a feeling an outright finding of libel will probably end up carrying with it a greater reward than merely publishing something salacious but accurate. I know I’d give someone who was libeled more money than someone who was accused of something that was true.

        3. Legally speaking, I don’t think it matters if he was gay.

          I think it matters if he was banging this particular gay porn star/prostitute. Because that’s the story that will have to be defended in court.

          1. Planning to bang. If the story is true he didn’t follow through after the prostitute’s attempts to coerce him into using his connections to help him with his housing dispute.

      2. “It really doesn’t matter what Geitner is. Gawker is just as horrible no matter the answer.”

        It’s not like Gawker said, “lol your gay!” They went further than that and said he paid a gay hooker for sex, or tried to.

        I’m not sure it’s Gawker’s business even if he did, but if he didn’t, yes, that makes it worse.

        1. Being called gay – whether you are or not – is not the career-ending horror it used to be.

          Not in itself.

          But saying a married man, with children, went out and paid some guy for sex, if that’s untrue, it’s a very nasty and damaging lie.

          1. In a world where people get their cars stolen for seeing hookers, even of the opposite sex, it’s a damaging allegation. And who knows, maybe the victim actually values his reputation as a family man. Maybe people think better of him because of that reputation.

    2. I thought gay escorts was how PUAs communicated their lack of availability to women in order to pique their interest.

      1. If that’s true, that’s hilarious.

  7. This is the second post to refer to the public disclosure of private facts tort, but why not also note that there’s a possible case of defamation here, too? The case that the story is true is being made by a blackmailer, fact-checked by a business with very bad credentials. While the underlying story may be true, there’s every reason to believe it might not be. If it isn’t, then it sounds like Gawker may well have overcome the actual malice standard in its reckless disregard for the truth. Maybe not, but it sounds pretty bad.

    I’m no expert in the field, but the “newsworthiness” prong of public disclosure of private facts is an incredibly low bar. Courts are very reluctant to make that decision, which means lots of deference to the media company/persons on whether an item they ran with was newsworthy.

  8. Robby Soave with a look at the headline Gawker would have run on the subject had this happened at another “news” organization:

    Robby Soave ?@robbysoave 28m28 minutes ago
    #CoverGawkerLikeGawker Straight White Dudebros Martyr Selves Over Right to Be Homophobic Pieces of Shit, Fuck Capitalism

    1. Robby seems like such a confused young man. I hope the better angels of his nature win the philosophical war raging within him. Perhaps Paul Krugman can help him sort through things – the Krugs has a way of making things sound very reasonable.

    2. This is just part of a very subtle and sophisticated strategy for Robby to take one of those Gawker editors’ jobs. First he has to demonstrate he speaks their language.

  9. Um yeah, straight guys do not try to hire gay porn prostitutes.

    1. Oh really? What if I want to send a gay friend a birthday present?

      1. Or if I want to make a gay porn vid?

        1. It’s not gay if you’re acting.

          1. True. It’s like make believe, but with more semen.

            1. make believe, but with more semen.

              A fairy tail?

          2. Or if HE sucks YOUR dick. Totally not gay- no homo, fish sticks.

    2. What is a “gay porn prostitute”?

      1. Someone who sells gay porn for money, natch.

        1. I was thinking it might be someone who watched gay porn for money.

          1. It’s a weird market, certainly.

      2. It’s what I like to refer to as a “slashie”. Gay porn actor slash gay prostitute.

        1. well, by definition, aren’t all porn actors/actresses prostitutes?

          1. Apparently not. This came up on a porn thread several months back. To circumvent the prostitution laws in CA, porn stars are not actually paid for the sexual act portrayed – although I forget exactly what they are paid for.

              1. Aw yeah! Suck my jagon!

          2. They’re being paid to act, not to fuck. So always include a contract and a camera when you contact your backpage.com friend. And when it turns into a police sting you can maintain:
            1) You were going to verify his or her age to the appropriate federal standard before doing anything.
            2) You were trying to turn this poor person into an actor/actress who could pay taxes on their work earnings.

            1. the question is, then, could one sign a contract to act, refuse to fuck, and sue the porn producers for a hostile work environment?

              1. Depends on the terms of the contract. If it says “realistic depictions of sex acts up to and including [whatever]” probably not. I mean, they shouldn’t have to have sex but I think you can pay them the agreed wage and send them on their way.

                1. but if it outlines the sex acts in the contract, are they not, then, paid to perform sex acts?

                  1. i contracted for double anal damn it.

                    1. Not for me, for the stars that I hired.

      3. A gay pornographer with no artistic integrity?

      4. It’s the hooker version of “as seen on TV”

          1. I’m still confused.

            No, not like that.

      5. To be fair, the guy advertised himself as a pornstar available for ‘dates’ for a fee.

        All pornstars are not prostitutes. And all prostitutes are not porn stars (or even very nice to look at). But some porn stars can engage in prostitution. He apparently ticked off both boxes. And also is like, disabled or something. In the same way every retired cop is ‘disabled’, it seems.

        1. “And also is like, disabled or something.”

          “I rang the doorbell, didn’t I?”

          /punch line to tasteless dirty joke

    3. “He said he was very handy with tools and I needed some remodeling done. “

      1. “You can imagine what happens next.”

        “He fixes the cable?”

        1. Well, this is a fantasy . . . .

  10. Who needs Gawker any more when we have Clickhole?

  11. Again, I’m not sure why the hullabaloo over Gawker. Are we shocked by what happens at Gawker because we consider it serious?

    I say again, if we started calling Gawker what it is– The Digital National Enquirer for the Snapchat generation– then none of this would get any more attention than we pay in the grocery store line.

    1. The hullabaloo is that the site is vile and does real damage to innocent people’s lives. The Geitner guy didn’t deserve to have his life dragged out into public. I care about this because I care about privacy. I think Geitner has a right to live his own life as he sees fit and if he wants to hook up with gay porn stars that is none of mine or anyone except the gay porn star and how wife’s business. I really don’t want to live in a world were scumbag news sites make money by invading the privacy and ruining the lives of people who don’t even put themselves in the public eye. So for that reason I hope Gawker dies and the people who work there never work in the media again.

      1. Understood, but aren’t we essentially giving the site eyeballs?

        1. I am not. I don’t go there. But I am not sure how you stop them without bringing attention to them.

    2. IIRC, National Enquirer broke the John Edwards story. If they hadn’t, he might have become President.

      What’s Gawker done?

  12. Read up on the source. He’s a real piece of work. I enjoy conspiracy theories as much as the next guy, but this guy claimed the Russians were behind 9/11 when everyone knows it was Haliburton.

    Another conspiracy theory that could be floated around is that Gawker intentionally tried to hurt the executive because he’s with a media rival.

    1. I for one am waiting to hear Gawker’s take on Bat Boy.

    2. Ha, ha. Idiots.

      Everyone knows it was the Norwegians.

      1. Fucking Norse, man.

  13. “Ted Cruz has previously tried to help the man, a disabled veteran

    Define, “disabled”

    1. His moral compass was shattered?

      1. Read his interview with The Daily Caller.

        1. “”Do you think the Geithner family is an upstanding family? Do you think they’re honest people? You should do your research.”

          “‘he’s a scumbag! he wanted to fuck me when I posted an ad offering to fuck people for money!! What kind of person does *that*?””

          Also, he’s solved the DaVinci code, or something. Obama is Satan and the Russians orchestrated 9/11

          ‘Differently Abled’ is probably appropriate

          1. BTW – anytime anyone uses the expression, “Uh, do some research“, its an instantaneous ‘I’m a fucking idiot’-announcement

            its amazing how on the internet, where its so fucking easy to substantiate your arguments with references to instantly available information in any kind of level of detail you desire, people just go, “‘Der, ah, the facts are out there man, just Google some shit and you’ll learn how Fracking is like changing the gravitational pull of the planet and sterilizing bees

            1. Wait, fracking is doing all that?

              Do you have a link?

  14. Did I miss it, or are we not outraged that the FBI can investigate a blackmail attempt and then have the information being used for blackmail become public knowledge via FOIA requests? That sounds pretty outrageous to me…. Is everything except things embarrassing to the police and government officials discoverable by FOIA request?

  15. Should be mentioned that the reason Gawker got nailed by advertisers pulling out so fast is because for the past 11 months gamergate had set up a mailing campaign to Gawker’s advertisers.

    Essentially gamergate people handed gawker protesters a gun to shoot gawker with. Giving them addresses and sites and organization to start a new mailing campaign over this.

    Gawker’s list of transgressions against gamergate is long.

    Some of that list:

    Wrote a gamers are dead article
    Nathan Grayson works at gawker – he is the one who gave positive coverage to a dev he was fucking
    Totillo (editor of Kotaku) had mods at reddit censor any mention of gamergate or ethics or corruption
    Sam Biddle in some tweets with Max Read said bullying nerds is great
    Pat Hernandez a writer at Kotaku gave positive coverage and reviews to dev friends and dev roomate
    Gawker and its various sites have written countless articles calling gamergate a sexist/racist/terrorist hate group

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