Gawker’s dramas keep publicly unfolding, with Gawker’s founder Nick Denton (above) posting that the decision to remove the Geithner article was not dictated by business concerns.
As B&T reported, Gawker posted a story which outed the chief financial officer of media group Conde Nast, David Geithner, who was allegedly texting a male escort. The Gawker’s Geithner article has since been removed.
In response to the removal of the article, both Gawker’s executive editor Tommy Craggs and editor-in-chief Max Read have resigned from their positions. Craggs and Read both accused Denton of prioritising business executives and advertisers over the editorial integrity of the website.
Craggs argued that he wasn’t informed that a vote about the article was even happening: “The article … had become radioactive,” he said. “Advertisers such as Discover and BFGoodrich were either putting holds on their campaigns or pulling out entirely.
“The impulse that led to Thursday’s story is the impulse upon which Nick (Gawker’s founder) himself built Gawker’s brand, the impulse against which Gorenstein sells his ads. The undoing of it began the moment Nick himself put the once inviolable sanctity of Gawker Media’s editorial to a vote.”
In a separate memo, Read said: “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.
Denton has contradicted both Craggs and Read’s reason for quitting Gawker. In an article, posted to the website, Denton argues:
“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.
“Were there also business concerns? Absolutely. The company’s ability to finance independent journalism is critical. If the post had remained up, we probably would have triggered advertising losses this week into seven figures. Fortunately, though, I was only aware of one advertiser pausing at the time the decision to pull the post was made; so you won’t be able to pin this outrage on advertising, even though it is the traditional thing to do in these circumstances.
“No, 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.
“It was such a breach of everything Gawker stands for, actually having a post disappeared from the internet. But it was also an unprecedented misuse of the independence given to editorial.”