Adobe, Mercedes and BMW are among the brands understood to have reconsidered relationships with Gawker in response to consumer activism that has cost the publisher thousands of dollars already, according to editor-in-chief Max Read.
Gawker has responded to mass withdrawals by advertisers, which follow a letter-writing campaign by video games enthusiasts and readers fed up of the hectoring, mocking, bullying tone of its journalists, with defiance.
Rather than apologising for the tone of its coverage and the language of its writers, Gawker branded the video games community, which is incensed by Gawker’s biased coverage of the GamerGate controversy, “dishonest fascists.”
Earnest, polite letters to advertisers and sponsors by GamerGate supporters, which have been flowing freely since Gawker threw its hat in the ring with hateful games journalists intent on wrongly portraying GamerGate as a misogynistic campaign operating under the cover of a press ethics mission, are working.
Dozens of advertisers have reconsidered their sponsorship of sites such as Gawker, viewing the contempt with which they hold their own readers as toxic. Max Read’s incendiary response to the situation will have done nothing to allay these advertisers’ fears.
Read yesterday repeated a number of disobliging characterisations of gamers, inaccurate claims about GamerGate and even insulted Intel, an advertiser that withdrew from games site Gamasutra for similar reasons, writing: “Intel is run by craven idiots. It employs pusillanimous morons. It lacks integrity.”
Read’s post follows a humiliating climbdown and series of apologies from Read himself, and another Gawker writer, Valleywag editor Sam Biddle, for tweets they published apparently condoning bullying of “nerds” and gamers.
Gamers are among the most marginalised and derided groups in society, but have been consistently painted as “misogynists” and “bullies” by media coverage in recent months.
But in a sign that Gawker may be watching what its writers say more closely in future, editorial director Joel Johnson published a front-page statement on the site reiterating that Gawker does not condone bullying.
That will come as news to Gawker’s many past victims, such as Pax Dickinson, ousted chief technology officer of Business Insider, about whom Gawker published scandalous claims without even contacting him, causing him to lose his job.
Dickinson yesterday published a thoughtful blog post about the policing of language online by Gawker, and their intolerance of anyone who does not pay obeisance to political correctness online.
The irony of Gawker’s career-destroying, far-left authoritarians squealing about fascism and bullying will not be lost on observers. “I’ve been told that we’ve lost thousands of dollars already, and could potentially lose thousands more, if not millions,” wrote Gawker’s Read last night.