Two of Gawker’s senior editors have resigned in the wake of the website running a controversial story that outed a senior executive at publishing company Condé Nast.
Tommy Craggs, the Executive Editor of Gawker Media, and Gawker.com editor-in-chief, Max Read, stand by the decision to run the story and suggest that removing it came about because senior management were concerned about losing advertising revenue.
The story was posted last Thursday. Written by Jordan Sargent, it included allegations made by a former porn star (who was granted anonymity by the website), that the media executive concerned – who Gay Star News has chosen not to name – had attempted to hire him for sex.
The article included screenshots of text messages and identified the executive concerned. He is married to a woman and has children. He is not a public figure, but has a brother who previously worked for the Obama administration.
Gawker – which was founded by gay entrepreneur Nick Denton – was immediately criticized by many commentators for appearing to out the executive as gay or bisexual.
Craggs informed Denton of the story on Thursday afternoon, a few hours before it was posted. According to the New York Times Denton expressed reservations but did not ask to read the article before it was posted online later that evening.
On Friday, the story was removed and Denton, who is CEO of Gawker and owns 68% of the company, posted a message saying that running the story was ‘a decision I regret.’
‘This story … does not rise to the level that our flagship site should be publishing.’
This was followed on Monday by a memo from Denton to staff. It said: ‘That post wasn’t what Gawker should stand for, and it is symptomatic of a site that has been out of control of editorial management.
‘Our flagship site carries the same name as the company, and the reputation of the entire company rests on its work. When Gawker itself is seen as sneering and callous, it affects all of us.’
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