Gawker Media

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Gawker Media assets, except the flagship blog "Gawker", have been sold and regathered under Gizmodo Media Group

Parent Company Gawker Media
Owner Nick Denton
Editor-in-Chief Max Read
Boycotted? Yes

Gawker Media is a media corporation which owns numerous blogs, including Kotaku, all of which are notorious for yellow journalism, bias, and corruption. Originally only Kotaku was a target for GamerGate supporters until Sam Biddle, one of the writers for its flagship blog Gawker, wrote a tweet that called for the return of "bullying nerds".[1] After this incident, Gawker became a major target of Operation Disrespectful Nod. After losing several key advertising campaigns Gawker started using Google AdSense and Amazon Associates to aggregate ads, prompting Operation Baby Seal.

Role in GamerGate

One of Gawker's first articles regarding GamerGate was an article written in an attempt to explain GamerGate to its readers.[2] This article gained the attention of many GamerGate supporters, which ultimately caused Sam Biddle's pro-bullying tweet.

Due to the unapologetic stance Gawker usually takes on their articles and on external affairs, Gawker has become a major target of the Operation Disrespectful Nod e-mail campaign. Shortly after Sam Biddle's first tweets, Adobe announced they would no longer be supporting and were distancing themselves from Gawker.[3]

On October 22 - Gawker published an article titled "How We Got Rolled by the Dishonest Fascists of Gamergate".[4] In this editorial piece, Gawker insults Intel and Adobe calling them "pusillanimous morons" and accusing them of "[lacking] integrity" because Intel and Adobe listened to their customers and refused to support bullying.

This action seems hypocritical, as they have a history of boycotting right-wing news sites like Fox News in an effort to remove their sponsors from shows that disagree with their agenda.

Ferguson "Riots are Good" article

On November 26, a few days after the riots in Ferguson were re-ignited due to the No Indictment verdict on Darren Wilson, the police officer that shot Michael Brown, Gawker posted an article written by Matt Bruenig titled 'Actually, Riots are Good: The Economic Case for Riots in Ferguson'.[5] Bruenig also wrote a follow-up piece on his personal website, titled 'Actually, Breaking Windows Is Good'.[6] In the Gawker piece, Bruenig talks about why he believes the riots are good from an economical standpoint, though mostly goes on to talk about the monetary value a human life has, stating:

Cost-benefit analyses conducted by safety regulators peg the value of a human life at $9.2 million. This means the economic cost of white cops killing blacks is around $883 million per year. If the jolt caused by Ferguson's rioting can chill police authorities and cause adjustments that save just 3 black lives per year, that's an economic savings of $27.6 million. It's hard to tell now how much damage rioting in Ferguson has caused, but I'd doubt it's anywhere near that figure.
Matt Bruenig

Joel Johnson and Gawker's call for @NYTFridge's doxing

On December 2, 2014, The twitter account NYTFridge tweeted about an article detailing an internal Gawker memo in which Nick Denton stripped Editorial Director Joel Johnson of his title, while still offering a VP level position within the company.[7][8] Shortly before the NYTFridge tweet, but most likely after the internal memo was sent out, Johnson had tweeted "Bring back bullying", a callback to the tweet Sam Biddle posted on October 16 and Johnson wrote the official apology for on October 22.[9]

Upon discovering the NYTFridge tweet, one of Gawker's employees Leah Finnegan, a Senior Editor, tweeted out:

If anyone has information regarding the identity of the @NYTFridge account, please email me, anonymity guaranteed (email removed)
Tweet - Archive

In a reply, she CCed several other Gawker staff, including Sam Biddle who also tweeted asking for personal information of the NYTFridge account shortly after replying to a NYTFridge tweet saying "I'm gonna dox you very soon".[10][11][12] As an incentive, John Shankman, who runs an Ad network, offered 2 weeks of free services to the first media company to post his information.[13]

Leah continued to taunt the NYTFridge account for the next hour, stating "every time a fridge closes an angel gets its first kinja", "if you have any info on fridge & are not offering it up you are on the wrong side of history cc @samfbiddle", and "we are simply trying to dox this site's most insidious terrorist so we can all live in peace & calm".[14][15][16]

Lawsuits involving Gawker Media

Unpaid Intern Lawsuit

On June 21, 2013, a lawsuit was filed by Aulistar Mark, Hanchen Lu, and Andrew Hudson, individually and also on behalf of various other Gawker interns between 2010 and 2012, in which they claim they were responsible for writing, editing, and comment moderation for the site, while not receiving proper compensation.[17] Key figures at Gawker claimed that the interns were unpaid because their internships consisted of mostly training, and working one on one with editors, which they considered to be a form of compensation, and they cite the fact that the interns were aware the internships would be unpaid.[18] The judge, while not deciding on the claims, ruled that there were enough interns harmed for the lawsuit to be certified as a class-action lawsuit.[19]

Despite not paying their own interns, Gawker has a history of calling out other employers with similar tactics, while saying nothing of their own lawsuit. In August 2013, Gawker published the article about how Condé Nast had stopped paying their interns, after originally giving them $550 per semester.[18][20] Later that month, Sam Biddle wrote an article in which he calls out Facebook COO Sheryl Sandburg for posting an unpaid job position listing despite making $91 million over the course of a day by selling Facebook stocks.[18][21] Sam Biddle went on to make this one of his "biggest dick moves of Silicon Valley" in December 2013.[18][22] Later, in October 2013 and February 2014, Gawker published articles in which they shamed other companies' use of unpaid interns without mentioning their own unpaid interns.[18][23][24]

Companies which have pulled ads on Gawker or its affiliates



Mercedes: Briefly, has since been reinstated[25]

Adobe: Confirmed they weren't brand partners with Gawker, although their logo was in the adverising page under the brand partners section. Adobe asked Gawker to remove the logo.[26]

Ford Motor Company: Considering pulling advertisement, not certain.

Other controversies

History of Gawker's boycotts:

See Also


  1. Sam Biddle's Twitter feed - archived 16 Oct 2014 17:07:14

  2. What Is Gamergate, and Why? An Explainer for Non-Geeks

  3. Twitter: Adobe announces distancing from Gawker - 11:15 AM - 21 Oct 2014

  4. How We Got Rolled by the Dishonest Fascists of Gamergate

  5. Actually, Riots are Good: The Economic Case for Riots in Ferguson

  6. Actually, Breaking Windows Is Good

  7. NYTFridge Tweet of tweet

  8. Joel Johnson out as editor in Gawker management shake-up - Capital

  9. Archive of About Bullying - Gawker

  10. CCing of other Gawker staff Archive of Tweet

  11. Biddle calling for the information on NYTFridge Archive

  12. "Im gonna dox you" Tweet

  13. John Shankman's tweet Archive

  14. 'angel gets its first kinja' Archive

  15. 'wrong side of history' Archive

  16. 'simply trying to dox' Archive

  17. PDF of the Court Document

  18. a b c d e Revealed: Gawker’s sworn affidavits explaining why its greedy interns didn’t deserve to be paid - Pando Daily Archive

  19. Gawker is latest target of unpaid intern class action - Business Management Daily Archive

  20. Condé Nast Stops Paying Interns - Gawker Archive

  21. Revealed: Sheryl Sandberg's Unpaid Intern Disgrace - Gawker Archive

  22. The Biggest Dick Moves of Silicon Valley 2013 - Gawker Archive

  23. Unpaid Intern Not a Real Employee, Can't Sue for Sexual Harassment - Gawker Archive

  24. Interns Interning At A Lot More Internships - Gawker Archive

  25. [1]

last modified on 25 February 2015, at 22:23.</li>