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Posts Tagged ‘gawker’

Peter Thiel bids to spike Gawker for good

Having almost buried Gawker media, Paypal tycoon Peter Thiel, is making moves to buy Gawker.con, the media company’s eponymous gossip and news site that’s been inactive for over a year. Why does he want it? The New York Times thinks it’s “to finish an independent journalism outfit that angered him in 2007 when it reported, without his permission, that he is gay, a fact widely known at the time in Silicon Valley.” Will he get it? “There are going to be multiple factors to consider, which will not be solely economic,” says Will Holden, the administrator of Gawker’s bankruptcy plan. Things like keeping the site alive, the archive online and it’s tone of irreverence intact?

In which case it’s worth looking at how Gawker came unstuck. Gawker went under in 2016. The law agreed with Hulk Hogan that his privacy had been invaded when Gawker published a grainy sex tape of the former wrestler giving it the Full Nelson. A Florida jury awarded damages of $140m to Hogan after a two-week trial. And, as the NYT says:

It also emerged that Mr. Thiel had spent about $10 million in secretly backing the lawsuit, a move that many Gawker employees interpreted as an attempt at revenge. Mr. Thiel told The New York Times: “It’s less about revenge and more about specific deterrence. I saw Gawker pioneer a unique and incredibly damaging way of getting attention by bullying people even when there was no connection with the public interest.”

Are the super-rich the best judges of what’s in the public interest?

Business Insider has more on the offering:

Gawker, which has been inactive for more than a year, is conducting an auction of its remaining assets, including its domain names and nearly 200,000 archived articles. Most of its assets, including its sister pages Deadspin, a sports site, and Jezebel, a feminist blog, were bought in 2016 for $135 million by media company Univision Holdings Inc.

Thiel has not said why he wants Gawker, though the potential acquisition would let him take down stories regarding his personal life that are still available on the website, and remove the scope for further litigation between him and Gawker…

Some former Gawker staffers have tried to buy the site. On Kickstarter, they appealed for funds:

Gawker isn’t gone, it’s up for auction. The person who drove the site into bankruptcy wants to buy it.
We’re a group of former Gawker Media employees across editorial, tech, and business, and we want to put in our own bid to buy it back. We believe the site can thrive in an entirely membership funded model…

If we don’t raise enough money to buy the site, we will preserve the archive and launch a new publication under a different name. We’re bringing this back whether we have the Gawker URL or not. So if you miss Gawker like we do and feel like supporting our mission, become a member, tell your friends, share this project, and send us your tips. We have work to do.

The bid failed. Reports are the appeal raised $90,000, which though not too shabby is the kind of cash a billionaire has down the back of his manicurist’s sofa.

Posted: 13th, January 2018 | In: News, Technology | Comment

Gawker: power and money smash free speech and the right to offend

Sorry to see Gawker go? Here are a few words on what they said about the US site:

John Loyd (Reuters):

Denton’s self-starting staff crossed two rich and angry men. One was the wrestler Hulk Hogan, incensed when Gawker published part of a video showing him having sex with a friend’s wife. Hogan took Gawker Media to court and won a total of $140 million in March. Hogan’s suit was bankrolled by Peter Thiel, a billionaire whom Gawker had outed as gay in 2007. At last month’s GOP convention, Thiel told the audience that, “I’m proud to be gay. I’m proud to be a Republican.” Gawker, for its part, went proudly bankrupt.

Mick Hume (Spiked):

Gawker, the muck-raking, dirt-digging, mud-slinging internet magazine, has just been forcibly closed down. It was not found guilty of threatening America’s national security, or corrupting the nation’s youth. Instead, Gawker was put out of business for publishing true stories that some people found offensive. One of those offended people happened to be a Silicon Valley billionaire, who used his wealth and power to shut Gawker’s irreverent mouth as surely as if he had been a Third World tyrant sending the cops to close a dissident newspaper.

But this is more than an outrageous tale of a thin-skinned rich boy. Gawker’s demise is only the headline in a bigger story about a campaign to tame press freedom, online as well as in print, and to sanitise the news media. It is a campaign being led on both sides of the Atlantic, not by old-fashioned censors, but by a new alliance of illiberal-liberal prigs who want to ‘ethically cleanse’ the media of whatever is not to their refined taste.

Nick Denton (Gawker publisher):

Peter Thiel has achieved his objectives. His proxy, Terry Bollea, also known as Hulk Hogan, has a claim on the company and my personal assets after winning a $140 million trial court judgment in his Florida privacy case. Even if that decision is reversed or reduced on appeal, it is too late for Gawker itself. Its former editor, who wrote the story about Hogan, has a $230 million hold on his checking account. The flagship site, a magnet for most of the lawsuits marshaled by Peter Thiel’s lawyer, has for most media companies become simply too dangerous to own.

Peter Thiel has gotten away with what would otherwise be viewed as an act of petty revenge by reframing the debate on his terms. Having spent years on a secret scheme to punish Gawker’s parent company and writers for all manner of stories, Thiel has now cast himself as a billionaire privacy advocate, helping others whose intimate lives have been exposed by the press. It is canny positioning against a site that touted the salutary effects of gossip and an organization that practiced radical transparency.

As former Gawker developer Dustin Curtis says, “Though I find the result abhorrent, this is one of the most beautiful checkmates of all time by Peter Thiel.”

Lili Loofbourow:

That crisis and the editorial changes that followed it did almost as much as the Peter Thiel-funded Hulk Hogan lawsuit to illustrate that what made Gawker great also made it vulnerable. In a word: money. (And an internet that’s become increasingly responsive to it.) Gawker was able to be what it was because it existed at the whim of an eccentric millionaire, not beholden to corporate interests, who was interested in what journalism could be. It was only a matter of time, perhaps, before other eccentric billionaires (like Peter Thiel and Frank VanderSloot) would come along who were more interested in what it couldn’t.

That Thiel succeeded in destroying Gawker by secretly funding Hulk Hogan’s lawsuit is a serious sign in a media landscape that’s already lost most of its biodiversity. But Gawker’s closure is a loss for its own sake. And ours.


Until the news broke that tech billionaire Peter Thiel was funding former pro wrestler Hulk Hogan’s suit against (now-defunct) gossip blog Gawker for outing him as gay nearly a decade ago, most people were unaware that third parties — traditionally, hedge funds — could bankroll a lawsuit against a person or business

As a result, start-ups in the field of litigation-finance investment have gained prominence, with a simple pitch to investors: Put up as little as $5,000 to fund lawsuits, and make money.

What price free speech?

Posted: 1st, September 2016 | In: Money, Reviews | Comment

Gawker let’s us look at the numbers

hulk-hoganFarewell, Gawker. Josh Laurito treats readers to a look inside Gawker, the media group bankrupted by the Hulk Hogan lawsuit verdict. Gawker media now consists of, the other titles being sold to Univision. Gawker will hang up its algorithms this week.

Since it’s not totally clear to me what will happen to the site’s archives or how long I will have access to data about the site, today seems like a good time to jot down some of the numbers we have about our writers, our community, and posts.

Read on…

Gawker subjects Names GAwker writers GAwker

Posted: 22nd, August 2016 | In: Reviews | Comment

Gawker counts the cost of attacking its customers

Gawker media’s anti-GamerGate drive back-fired:

 “The cost to Gawker Media of its ridicule and viciousness toward video gamers was ‘seven figures’ in lost advertising revenue, according to the company’s head of advertising, Andrew Gorenstein. In addition, founder Nick Denton has stepped down as president and editorial director Joel Johnson has been removed from his post and will probably leave the company, reportsCapital New York. . . . Gawker, together with Vox Media, represent the ‘worst offenders’ in the media, according to GamerGate forums: they have both, through properties such as Kotaku and Polygon, respectively, repeatedly mocked video gamers and uncritically reported claims of threats and harassment from feminist campaigners which are falling apart under closer scrutiny.”

Journalism is being crushed beneath the feminists’ truck of truth for whom evidence is a peculiarity…

Posted: 12th, December 2014 | In: Technology | Comment

Gawker hangs Seth Abramovitch out to dry in race to be offended

GAWKER has sacked writer Seth Abramovitch for writing about Kanye West. Abramovitch said the singer’s mother name DONDA, stood for “Dis Original Nigga Dresses Alright”.

Gawker editor A.J. Daulerio. tells TheWrap:

“I thought it was a half-assed apology. I basically do not want people working for the site who do not care. I had a conversation with Seth and he told me he really didn’t care.”

Abramovitch has been hung out to dry. Gawker is a terrific site, and Daulerio has helped to make Deadspin, the site’s sister sports-focused organ, a hit. But in sacking Abramovitch and then publicly condemning him, the editor has played it wrong.

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Posted: 11th, January 2012 | In: Reviews | Comment

Why The Guardian Is Happy To Look Down On Gawker

JOHN Naughton explains the Guardian’s prejudices and why Gawker does it better. See if you can read this and spot the Guardian pandering to its own readers’ bias?

Among the phenomena he [James Fallows] examined were the relentless trivialisation implicit in soundbite politics, the obsessive insistence that every political issue – no matter how complex – has only two sides and the tendency to treat every political controversy as if it were a football game and every election a horse race. But, en passant, Fallows also highlighted an equally disturbing trend – towards market-driven news: that is, news agendas that are driven not by some professional assessment of what’s important and relevant, but by research into what viewers like and respond to. Put crudely, such an approach leads to news programming that plays down politics and economics in favour of coverage of crime, celebrity and sport. News-U-Like, as it were.

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Posted: 18th, April 2011 | In: Reviews | Comment

Christine O’Donnell’s Pubic Hair Turns Gawker Into A Tabloid Whore

GAWKER is in a spot of bother with its story on Delaware Republican Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell’s pubic hair. The story is written the first person and details an alleged no-sex sexual encounter between the writer, then aged 25, and Tea Party favourite O’Donnell in her mid-thirties. The story is three years old.

THIS Guy Sold The Story – Dustin Dominiak

It’s the kind of thing you might read in the British tabloids. It’s a salacious, women-hating, sexually-driven smear. The US does not have a tabloid industry like in the UK. It’s tabloids are celebrity targeted and weekly. But Gawker fills the gap for a daily read pretty well. And now it has entered into  red-top territory:

O’Donnell’s camp released a statement saying:

“This story is just another example of the sexism and slander that female candidates are forced to deal with.”

That’s right. The tabloids hate ambitious women. If they are also attractive and sexually active, the tabloids will go for them. Gawker is just a tabloid doing what tabloids do.

Photos Of Democrat Politician Krystal Ball Sucking A Dildo Strapped To A Man’s Face

Gawker milks the attention, as it must, and sticks the statement up at the top of its site. It’s the Daily Mail’s Jan Moir approach to journalism – so long as it is offensive, bigoted and sensational and the media becomes the story – good job:

The National Organization for Women (NOW) on Thursday condemned the tabloid website Gawker for publishing an anonymous account: NOW issued a statement late Thursday stating that “sexist, misogynist attacks against women have no place in the electoral process, regardless of a particular candidate’s political ideology.”

“NOW repudiates Gawker’s decision to run this piece. It operates as public sexual harassment. And like all sexual harassment, it targets not only O’Donnell, but all women contemplating stepping into the public sphere,” said NOW president Terry O’Neill.

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Posted: 29th, October 2010 | In: Key Posts, Politicians | Comments (6)

Gawker Versus Gayheart And Dane: Sex Tape Round Up

5554446ERIC Dane and his pregnant wife Rebecca Gayheart, stars of the dullest non-sex sex tape to hit the internets, are suing Gawker over publishing it on their site.(Cut scenes here.)

Eric Dane and Rebecca Gayheart claims Gawker “maliciously” distributed the Noxzema video and included nude shots of them and former beauty queen Kari Ann Peniche. Ric, Gayheart and Penishe. Who needs porn names, right Mindy McCready?

How much is the injury to their reputations worth? They say $1million.

Their layer, Marty Singer also want the video pulled.

Gawker publisher Nick Denton twitters:

“To quote the great Marty Singer — Eric Dane’s lawyer — if you don’t want a sex tape on the internet, ‘don’t make one!'”

Well, nto so much to quote as to paraphrase. What Singer said:

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Posted: 24th, September 2009 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts | Comment

Barack Obama Not Killed By Armed Man In New Hampshire

obama-gun-1THE Barack Obama Death Cult – Anorak’s look at the media’s obsession with Obama’s assassination – Gawker spots a man with a pistol strapped to his leg waiting for Barack Obama to arrive at a townhall meeting in New Hampshire.

The man is holding a sign that bears the legend: “It Is Time to Water the Tree of Liberty.”You know, the Jefferson quote on the French Revoltiosn – he was all for it.

John Cook confirms that it’s a reference to a Thomas Jefferson aphorism:

The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” It was a favorite slogan of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, who was wearing a T-shirt when he was arrested with a picture of Lincoln on the front and a tree dripping with blood on the back.

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Posted: 11th, August 2009 | In: Politicians | Comments (4)

Oprah Winfrey Twitters Keith Chegwin

TWITTER is the future of newspaper industry. Before we get to Oprah Winfrey failing to Twitter Keith Chegwin, here’s the plan:

What happens is that one pundit says or writes something about a person using Twitter. Other pundits agree. Some pundits disagree and say something else. Then all the pundits agree that there are two sides to the argument and balance is all. A few pundita go head-to-head on the telly or a webcam. The story continues until a pundit spots another person using Twitter…

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Posted: 17th, April 2009 | In: Celebrities | Comment

Ian Tomlinson, New York New School Lies And Beating Up A Deaf Man

IAN Tomlinson’s death at G20 is not the only instance of police brutality.

Sure he was begging for it for wearing a Millwall top and treading on the cracks in the pavement, but he is not alone:

Gawker has this gem:

City Room finally posted this video from the New School protest that was crushed by the police earlier today. When you watch it, keep in mind that the NYPD’s spokesperson told the NYT it was “untrue that pepper spray or mace were used in effectuating the arrests.” Liar:

Menwhile in Texas:

It began with a routine traffic stop due to excessive speeding over one year ago.  The Deaf driver, Christopher Ferrell, attempted to retrieve his wallet to show the identification card regarding his deafness. The officer, J.A. Miller misinterpreted the actions for a person reaching for his gun and reacted aggressively. He grabbed the driver, swinging him around and smashed his face into the rear windshield, breaking his nose. The driver was then forced back to his seat.

The officer was disciplined with two days suspension without pay. He is currently appealing his decision.

There’s a video here.

The police are there not to protect the state. The police are there to serve the people…

Pictures And Video Of G20 Ian Tomlinson Hit From Behind By Policeman

New Video Of G20 Ian Tomlinson Being Beaten By Police

G20 Death Pictures NSFW

Posted: 10th, April 2009 | In: Reviews | Comment (1)

Goodbye Defamer As We Twitter Our Lives

AS a sign of how the live tree press is contracting, Defamer, the LA gossip rag, is merging into Gawker.

As the Hollywood gossip Web site prepared to cover the Academy Awards on Sunday, its owner, Gawker Media, said it would fold the site into its flagship blog,

And so Gawker sets about becoming the online newspaper it always wanted to be. It knocks the so-called dead tress press, but sections work online and offline, right? (See Anorak.)

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Posted: 24th, February 2009 | In: Reviews | Comment

Santa Is Dead To New York Mothers

ALTHOUSE notices:

“We Hate Your Kids, The Poors, The Panic of ’08, Journalismism, New York Times, The Rich.”
Tags on this Gawker post —
“The Infuriating New Face Of Poverty” — about a truly absurd NYT article headlined “To Buy Children’s Gifts, Mothers Do Without.”

Gifts. The children still get gifts..?

Posted: 26th, November 2008 | In: Reviews | Comment

Sarah Palin Kill Of The Day: Gawker Nick Denton

GAWKER STALKER: Just saw Sarah Plain walking up Columbus at 78th around 5:30pm.

She was walking with a man in Army fatigues and show boots. He screamed: “That’s Moose Denton!”

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Posted: 11th, October 2008 | In: Politicians | Comment

Gawker Joins Barack Obama Death Cult

GAWKER has joined the Barack Obama Death Cult:

NRA Ad: Shoot Obama Before He Steals Your Guns

They won’t be happy til he’s dead…

Posted: 23rd, September 2008 | In: Politicians | Comment (1)