Last night, Gawker posted a long and sordid tale about the CFO of a major mass media company, an emotionally troubled porn star/hustler, and an attempted hookup gone horribly awry. No stranger to controversy — the site courts notoriety with the same vengeance it pursues clicks — the company is probably surprised by the vehemence with which the Internet is crying foul.
Minutes after the piece was posted, the criticisms started to fly, accusing the gossip site’s publisher Nick Denton and the story’s author Jordan Sargent of blackmail, gay-shaming and gleefully outing a married man with three kids — a professional who isn’t exactly a public figure.
Re/Code’s Kara Swisher:
— Kara Swisher (@karaswisher) July 17, 2015
The Intercept journalist Glenn Greenwald:
The dilemma of wanting to make a few points about the repugnant Gawker story & their “justification” but not wanting to give it attention… — Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) July 17, 2015
ESPN’s Michelle Beadle:
Smells like someone just took a huge @Gawker in here. ????
— Michelle Beadle (@MichelleDBeadle) July 17, 2015
Honestly, it’s difficult to find someone who isn’t weighing in on the scandal on Twitter, and voices coming out in defense of the article are few and far between (and are mostly Gawker’s staffers.)
Gawker Editor-in-Chief Max Read:
given the chance gawker will always report on married c-suite executives of major media companies fucking around on their wives — max read (@max_read) July 17, 2015
Although even some Gawker’s writers seem to be similarly appalled by the story, such as senior writer Adam Weinstein:
I had no part in this. I would not have chosen to run it as is. http://t.co/kHOz1YA87S
— Adam Weinstein (@AdamWeinstein) July 17, 2015
We recommend skipping the Gawker story altogether and rooting around the Internet for commentary about the post instead. It’s easy to find (there’s tons) and most of it is far more entertaining than the post itself, which is a bummer. (We at Queerty will be sure to closely read the reviews before buying our next hustler. It’s so hard to find good help nowadays.)
Many commentators are wondering whether Sargent’s post — which comes on the heels of a high-profile lawsuit involving an alarmingly unsexy Hulk Hogan sex tape — will completely undo Gawker Media. As “cbabgeae” commented beneath Sargent’s post, “Jordan basically admitted to being accessory after the fact to a felony, helping to blackmail and extort someone… Basically, if [the CFO] sues, Gawker is finished, as are all of its writers, since he can probably make a good claim for individual liability too.”