Deadspin Writers Continue Quitting in Protest of Stick to Sports Mandate

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Deadspin writers have not relented in their protest of their parent company’s mandate to stick to sports, as staff members continue quitting en masse.

The latest sign of the tumult at the former sports/political/cultural website occurred Wednesday night and on into Thursday, as Deadspin waited until Thursday afternoon to post an article about the Nationals World Series victory on Wednesday night.

According to the New York Post:

Writers have been fleeing the site to protest a mandate to ‘stick to sports’ after the site published a blistering story that accused the company’s owner G/O Media — which also owns Gizmodo, Jezebel and the Onion, and which is backed by the cost-conscious buyout firm Great Hill Partners — of hiring “older white guys” to run the site.

In the face of the sports-only directive from G/O execs, staffers have protested that Deadspin’s stories about politics, media, and pop culture frequently generate more traffic.

As of midday Thursday, the only other new story posted on the site since Wednesday evening was a piece about a Jordanian pro soccer team by a freelance writer. In a farewell tweet, Deadspin editor David Roth said he posted it to guarantee the writer got paid.

The revolt began in earnest on Tuesday after Deadspin owner G/O Media sent out a memo telling writers that they were to confine their stories to issues dealing only with sports, and to leave politics to other sites within the network.

In response, Deadspin writers flooded the site on Tuesday with stories having to to do with anything but sports.

As a result Deadspin Deputy Editor Barry Petchesky was fired.

“Hi! I’ve just been fired from Deadspin for not sticking to sports,” Petchesky tweeted.

“Top postings on Tuesday included ‘Woman Furiously S—s on Floor of Tim Hortons, Throws it At Employees,’ as well as ‘What Did We Get Stuck in Our Rectums Last Year,’ and ‘The Hateful Life and Spiteful Death of the Man Who Was Vig the Carpatian,’ the New York Post reports.

Writers have continued quitting since Petchesky’s firing. Other writers who have recently left Deadspin include Drew Magary, Dom Cosentino, Dan McQuade, Kelsey McKinney, Laura Wagner, and Luis Paez-Pumar.

“’Stick to sports’ is and always has been a euphemism for don’t speak truth to power,” wrote GMG Union, the union which represents Deadspin said in a statement.

The statement specifically called out G/O Media CEO Jim Spanfeller.

“In addition to being bad business, Spanfeller’s actions are morally reprehensible,” the statement claimed.

G/O Media has not taken the union’s criticism laying down. The company released a statement debunking the writers claim that Deadspin’s political and cultural writing was one of the more popular features on the site.

“In September, unsurprisingly, 24 of the top 25 stories on Deadspin were sports-related while non-sports content accounted for less than 1 percent of the page views on the site,” a spokesman explained.

“While amusing, our readers haven’t actually come to Deadspin for stories like ‘Classic Rock, Ranked,’ or ‘You’re Goddamn Right It’s Layering Season,’ or ‘It’s OK to Logoff.’”

Follow Dylan Gwinn on Twitter @themightygwinn


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