In 2010, the New Yorker revealed that Gawker founder Nick Denton frequently described himself as a “pornographer” when people asked him what he did for a living.
To Denton, this was a tongue-in-cheek joke, the product of a time when he ran an explicit blog on the side. To the public, though, it’s hard to remember Gawker’s founder saying anything more honest.
Nick Denton is at least honest. I mean, he is a revenge pornographer. Like the seedy website owners who profit from nude photos released by bitter exes out of spite, Denton’s hypocritical and beleaguered blog has a poisonous track record of invading and destroying the lives of innocent people.
The site and its odious, psycho writers are driven by a sociopathic and sadistic lust for clicks, excitement and power.
Yet Ziff Davis wants to bail them out. The men’s lifestyle media company inexplicably wants to attach its own brand to this most toxic of blogging networks. Sure, there are tax reasons for doing so, but it’s hard to see how they might outweigh the potential brand damage.
The invisible hand of the market is crushing Gawker. And yes, Peter Thiel counts — like the ACLU, Southern Poverty Law Center, FIRE and a million other well-funded private groups, he’s helping to foot the bill for entities who are being kicked around and can’t fight back.
Ziff Davis owns properties that compete with Gawker, especially Gawker’s laughably dumb video game blog, Kotaku. Apparently the company believes it can neutralise its competitors and sell off whatever’s left.
On second thoughts, maybe Ziff Davis is the perfect home. Ziff Davis bought the IGN network and ruthlessly sacrificed their existing brands like 1Up, gamespy, and UGO. Maybe they can do the same to Gawker, but keep its car blog afloat for my gearhead boyfriends.
Former wrestling champion Hulk Hogan may have pinned Gawker following a legdrop after he successfully sued the company for $140 million, but he was by no means the first victim of Gawker. In many ways Hogan was the lucky one. Many of Gawker’s victims will never see any reparations for the damage caused to their personal and professional lives by Denton’s empire of psychotic, brattish virtue-signallers.
Just last year, Gawker colluded with a gay prostitute who wanted to blackmail a Condé Nast executive, agreeing to out the man as gay. This was the story that finally caused journalists and even millennial left-wingers — to whom the site regularly panders — to say, “Enough.”
Gawker took a conspiracy theory-prone male escort at his word and helped him punish and terrorise an innocent victim. Not for any particular reason, you understand — the executive wasn’t a public figure and had never expressed any anti-gay opinions. Just because they could.
In 2010, then-Gawker editor AJ Daulerio refused to remove a video that the website had posted featuring a girl possibly being raped in a sports bar bathroom stall, after the featured girl emailed Daulerio and begged for the video to be removed.
“I am the girl in it and it was stolen from me and put up without my permission,” claimed the girl. “Blah blah blah,” was the cold reaction of Gawker’s complaints department, which came in the form of a note that they forwarded to Daulerio.
Still, the complaints department was at least honest about their disregard for her feelings. Daulerio, by contrast, disingenuously attempted to comfort the girl while simultaneously refusing to take down the video. “[Don’t] make a big deal out of this,” Daulerio told her. “I’m sure it’s embarrassing but these things do pass, keep your head up.”
The girl was a nobody. She wasn’t a celebrity, a millionaire, nor a government official. She was a normal member of the public. But Daulerio still justified the video as “newsworthy,” and used his lawyer to scare the girl away in a letter that included the statement “one’s actions can have unintended consequences.”
I wonder if Daulerio remembered those words when he was sitting in a Florida courtroom, being interrogated by Hulk Hogan’s attorneys.
Daulerio, remember, is the former Gawker editor who said he would “draw the line” at publishing the sex tape of a 4-year old. This is the site Ziff Davis wants to attach its name to.
By the way, it’s probably time to downplay or backtrack on your kiddy porn comments, AJ. One’s actions can have unintended consequences, you know! Especially for your career — but maybe Salon or National Review is hiring.
In 2012, Gawker decided to make life a misery for one of Hollywood’s most beloved actresses, in a piece titled “New Super Dirty Olivia Munn Pics: ‘I Want Your Big Dick Right Here’. The actress, along with fellow celebrity Christina Hendricks had the misfortune of being hacked shortly before, which resulted in the release of several intimate photographs and messages.
Without hesitation, Gawker decided to include the photographs in full, exponentially increasing their reach by introducing them to their millions of social media-savvy readers.
Then there was the jokey tone of the article. Gawker treated the story as both a joke and a masturbation aid. Somehow I doubt Olivia Munn was laughing. Gawker founder Denton thought nothing of it, and the articles, including all of the unmodified photos, are still available to this day.
Meanwhile, other parts of the Denton octopus talked about how wrong the whole thing was. Denton was being served cake whichever direction he went: he could sell the nudes on Monday and sell the rebuke of them on Friday. Ker-ching!
This is the same Gawker that runs Kotaku and Jezebel, sites whose writers are always quick to virtue-signal about their progressive feminist values. You know, the same progressive feminists who champion revenge porn laws. Sometimes I wonder how these writers can live with themselves, but then I remember they work for Gawker. They’re already dead inside.
The list of victims continues. In 2013, under the title “Here’s The Naked ‘Photo’ This Politician Really Doesn’t Want You to See”, Gawker published a naked photo of Canadian politician Lenore Zann. A seventeen year-old boy on Twitter had taken a screenshot of a shower scene featuring Zann during her old acting days before taking to Twitter to torment the politician.
You really didn’t want to see it, sure. But why not, it’s worth a click and once you’re on Gawker you can even read some native advertising about the world’s largest Oreo fort or something.
“Neither I nor producers of “The L Word” consent to illegal download of a single frame nor illegal distribution of my image,” complained Zann. She also called the tormentor a “cyberbully” and begged for him to delete his posts. Gawker’s response? Nothing. The post is still up.
Are you spotting the pattern?
Denton also authorised the release of numerous unfounded gossip items and allegations about the sex lives of celebrities. The site repeatedly ran stories suggesting James Franco was gay, despite the fact that the actor is straight. It also published fake pornographic stills of Governor Chris Christie as part of a weird conspiracy theory about his alleged ties to the mob.
At best Gawker is a ghost ship with no captain in the editorial or legal departments, merrily sailing towards the docks of journalism, on fire and full of plague. At worst, they’re criminals and psychopaths. Reader, you decide.
Gawker doesn’t even need facts to mess with your private life, by the way. If they can’t find the right story, they’ll just invent one — or buy one from a sketchy male prostitute.
Ziff Davis: what are you doing?
Gawker has acted with appalling callousness to dozens of innocent people, and the posting of private and intimate nudes seems to have remained a particular speciality. Read some of the headlines listed above, and compare it to a title found on a revenge porn website, or 4chan nude dump.
If anything, the revenge porn sites manage to be slightly less creepy. Gawker is depraved, and its brazen track record underscores how accurate the title of “revenge pornographers” fits its psychopathic staff.
Whereas many people might’ve once laughed at Denton’s response of being a “pornographer” when asked about his job, most people today wouldn’t even bat an eye. Nick Denton is a revenge pornographer, and by acquiring Gawker Media, Ziff Davis will be carrying on the torch of Denton’s media empire.
Denton, incidentally, will make a small fortune from the $100 million sale price — and from the $20,000 a month consultancy Ziff Davis is offering him. For shame.
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