If you've been living in a cave I will give you a little update.
Gawker is a website that specializes in three things. One is gossip, they love anything that might embarrass someone famous, no matter what.
The second thing is nastiness, if they can couch their gossip in the most petty, childish, and insulting terms, they will do it.
The third thing Gawker specializes in is outrage. They love to find something said by someone that might be construed as offensive or politically incorrect, and then marshaling the forces of social media to destroy the alleged "offender's" employment or life. Now usually Gawker prefers if the outrage is aimed at the people they choose to be outraged at, and preferably over subjects they deem fitting for outrage. (They are reportedly masters of double standards)
However, lately that outrage has been aimed at Gawker itself, and Gawker ain't happy about it.
Here's a quick summary: An executive at Condé Nast was being blackmailed by a gay porn-star/escort. The executive is in the closet, is married and has a family, and the blackmailer told him that if he didn't pay up, the story will go public.
Now any other publication, print or web, would look at the story being given to then by the blackmailer and ask: "Hmmm...by publishing this story, which isn't exactly newsworthy, wouldn't we become part of the extortion and hence be open to all sorts of moral and legal ramifications?" Then they would pass on the story, and possibly call the police.
Not so at Gawker.
Gawker ran with it.
They claimed it was newsworthy because it involved a man, a senior executive at a major publisher, being unfaithful to his wife in a particularly salacious manner since it involved the man being a closeted homosexual.
Now, when someone is "outed" against their will, those who do the outing usually follow a certain criteria.
1. Usually that person must be, if not famous, at least so prominent in their field that they are considered a 'public figure.'
2. That public figure must be involved in political or social activities that is seen as being anti-LGBT, and thus their status as both "closeted" and unfaithful being a sign of great moral-sexual hypocrisy.
The executive was not a public figure. He's essentially a chief number cruncher, he didn't go around condemning homosexuality, infidelity, or any other moral, sexual, or social issue, and his attitudes had no apparent effect on Condé Nast's editorial stances or content.
That means that his life, especially his sex life, wasn't remotely newsworthy, and was henceforth HIS OWN DAMN BUSINESS.
As for infidelity, then that would be between him, his wife, their lawyers, and their children, not Gawker, and definitely not the general public.
Gawker Media, the site's parent company is already embroiled in a pretty pricey lawsuit from wrestler Hulk Hogan over them releasing a sex tape of him fooling around with a friend's wife. Though I am surprised that it's only Hulk Hogan suing them and not a class action from Gawker readers who were traumatized by finding out a Hulk Hogan sex tape exists.
|Artist depiction of Gawker founder Nick Denton|
Anyway... back on topic. Gawker Media now has another lawsuit looming over them like the grim specter of death, and are on damage control. So they folded faster than Superman on laundry day and pulled the story from the website.
It's too little, too late, the damage has been done, but if all you have is a gesture, then you make that gesture.
But wait, as the late Billy Mays would say, there's more.
The editorial staff at Gawker responded to the story be posting this statement:
Our union drive has expressed at every stage of the process that one of our core goals is to protect the editorial independence of Gawker Media sites from the influence of business-side concerns. Today’s unprecedented breach of the firewall, in which business executives deleted an editorial post over the objections of the entire executive editorial staff, demonstrated exactly why we seek greater protection. Our opinions on the post are not unanimous but we are united in objecting to editorial decisions being made by a majority of non-editorial managers. Disagreements about editorial judgment are matters to be resolved by editorial employees. We condemn the takedown in the strongest possible terms.
Yep, the Gawker editorial staff is unionizing to protect the journalistic integrity of a publication that ran a story that was devoid of all journalistic interest, let alone integrity. It was pointless scandal mongering.
Also, it's like the crew of the Titanic going to the Captain as the ship slips into the icy depths of the North Atlantic and saying: "We've decided to unionize because you opposed us driving into that iceberg. Oh, why are my shoes suddenly wet?"
Now I'm not a prude, and I don't think that there isn't a place for gossip. People love their tittle-tattle, however, Gawker's brand of toxicity may have finally reached its saturation point.
Of course, within days of Gawker's destruction or neutering, something else will pop it to take its place. It's the internet's circle of life.