NEW YORK — On Thursday evening, popular gossip site Gawker posted a story involving the CFO of a leading mass media company and his complicated relationship with a male escort.
Shortly after publication, the post drew the ire of media personalities and Gawker’s loyal readership, who accused openly gay publisher Nick Denton and the story’s author Jordan Sargent of blackmail, “gay shaming,” and unnecessarily outing a married man with three children.
Re/Code’s Kara Swisher:
— Kara Swisher (@karaswisher) July 17, 2015
The Intercept journalist Glenn Greenwald:
The dilemma of wanting to make a few points about the repugnant Gawker story & their “justification” but not wanting to give it attention… — Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) July 17, 2015
ESPN’s Michelle Beadle:
Smells like someone just took a huge @Gawker in here. ????
— Michelle Beadle (@MichelleDBeadle) July 17, 2015
Voices coming out in defense of the article are few and far between, and many of them happen to be Gawker staffers, like its Editor-in-Chief Max Read:
given the chance gawker will always report on married c-suite executives of major media companies fucking around on their wives — max read (@max_read) July 17, 2015
But even some of Gawker’s writers have come out against the story, like senior writer Adam Weinstein:
I had no part in this. I would not have chosen to run it as is. http://t.co/kHOz1YA87S
— Adam Weinstein (@AdamWeinstein) July 17, 2015
Many are wondering whether Sargent’s post spells the end of Gawker Media, which is currently embroiled in a high-profile lawsuit involving Hulk Hogan and a sex tape.
As “cbabgeae” commented beneath Sargent’s original post, “Jordan basically admitted to being accessory after the fact to a felony, helping to blackmail and extort someone… Basically, if [the CFO] sues, Gawker is finished, as are all of its writers, since he can probably make a good claim for individual liability too.”