Type of site
|Owner||Bustle Digital Group|
|Current status||Defunct as of August 22 2016|
Gawker was an American blog founded by Nick Denton and Elizabeth Spiers and based in New York City focusing on celebrities and the media industry.The blog promoted itself as "the source for daily Manhattan media news and gossip." According to third-party web analytics provider SimilarWeb, the site had over 23 million visits per month as of 2015. Founded in 2003, Gawker was the flagship blog for Denton's Gawker Media. Gawker Media also managed other blogs such as Jezebel, io9, Deadspin and Kotaku.
A blog is a discussion or informational website published on the World Wide Web consisting of discrete, often informal diary-style text entries (posts). Posts are typically displayed in reverse chronological order, so that the most recent post appears first, at the top of the web page. Until 2009, blogs were usually the work of a single individual, occasionally of a small group, and often covered a single subject or topic. In the 2010s, "multi-author blogs" (MABs) emerged, featuring the writing of multiple authors and sometimes professionally edited. MABs from newspapers, other media outlets, universities, think tanks, advocacy groups, and similar institutions account for an increasing quantity of blog traffic. The rise of Twitter and other "microblogging" systems helps integrate MABs and single-author blogs into the news media. Blog can also be used as a verb, meaning to maintain or add content to a blog.
Nicholas Guido Anthony Denton is a British Internet entrepreneur, journalist and blogger, the founder and former proprietor of the blog collective Gawker Media, and was the managing editor of the New York-based Gawker.com, until a lawsuit by Terry Bollea bankrupted the company. For years after starting Gawker Media in 2002, Denton ran the company out of his apartment in SoHo.
Elizabeth Spiers is an American Web publisher and journalist, the founding editor of Gawker.com, a media gossip blog, and of Dead Horse Media, now called Breaking Media, which has published blogs and websites in the fields of Wall Street, the law, fashion industry, and business management: Dealbreaker.com, AboveTheLaw.com and Fashionista.com.
Gawker came under scrutiny for posting videos, communications and other content that violated copyrights or the privacy of its owners, or was illegally obtained. In particular, Gawker's publication of a sex tape featuring Hulk Hogan resulted in a $140 million legal judgment against the company. On June 10, 2016, Gawker announced its bankruptcy filing as a direct result of the monetary judgment against the company related to the Hulk Hogan sex tape lawsuit.On August 18, 2016, Gawker Media announced that its flagship blog, gawker.com, would be ceasing operations the following week. Its other websites were unaffected, and continue to be run by Univision. Founder Nick Denton created the site's final post on August 22, 2016.
Terry Gene Bollea, better known by his ring name as Hulk Hogan, is an American retired pro wrestler, actor, television personality, entrepreneur and musician. According to IGN, Hogan is "the most recognized wrestling star worldwide and the most popular wrestler of the 1980s". He enjoyed considerable mainstream popularity between 1984 and 1993 as a heroic character in the World Wrestling Federation, which continued during the mid 1990s in World Championship Wrestling (WCW). In 1996, he became a villain, leading the New World Order (nWo) faction. Hogan headlined multiple editions of the premier annual events of the WWF and WCW, WrestleMania and Starrcade; against Sting, he closed the most profitable WCW pay-per-view ever at the 1997 edition of Starrcade. Aside from those promotions, he has notably performed for the American Wrestling Association (AWA), New Japan Pro-Wrestling (NJPW) and Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA).
Bollea v. Gawker was a Florida lawsuit in which Terry Gene Bollea, known professionally as Hulk Hogan, sued Gawker Media, publisher of the Gawker website, and several Gawker employees and Gawker-affiliated entities, for posting portions of a sex tape of Bollea with Heather Clem, at that time the wife of radio personality Bubba the Love Sponge. Bollea's claims included invasion of privacy, infringement of personality rights, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Prior to trial, Bollea's lawyers said the privacy of many Americans was at stake while Gawker's lawyers said that the case could hurt freedom of the press in the United States.
Univision is an American Spanish-language free-to-air television network that is owned by Univision Communications. It is the country's largest provider of Spanish-language content, followed by American competitor Telemundo. The network's programming is aimed at Hispanic Americans and includes telenovelas and other drama series, sports, sitcoms, reality and variety series, news programming, and imported Spanish-language feature films. Univision is headquartered in Midtown Manhattan, New York City, and has its major studios, production facilities, and business operations based in Doral, Florida.
On July 12, 2018, Bryan Goldberg, owner of Bustle and Elite Daily, purchased Gawker.com in a bankruptcy auction for less than $1.5 million.
Bryan Goldberg is an American entrepreneur and the owner of websites Gawker, Bustle, Elite Daily, Mic, The Outline, and The Zoe Report, which collectively form Bustle Digital Group. Previously, Goldberg founded Bleacher Report, a sports news website that sold to Turner Broadcasting System in 2012 for $200 million. Bryan Goldberg is widely considered to be a polarizing figure in New York media. He has been described as the “buyer of last resort” for his hard-nosed deal making tactics and a “media mogul” by The New Yorker.
Bustle is an online American women's magazine founded in August 2013 by Bryan Goldberg. Bustle is designed for women and it positions news and politics alongside articles about beauty, celebrities, and fashion trends. By September 2016, the website had 50 million monthly readers.
Elite Daily is an American online news platform founded by David Arabov, Jonathon Francis, and Gerard Adams. The site describes its target audience as millennials. In addition to general news and today's hot issues and trending topics, the site offers feature stories and listicles in the areas of politics, social justice, sex and dating, college life, women's issues, money, sports, and humor. Its slogan is "The Voice of Generation Y."
Gawker was founded by journalist Nick Denton in 2002, after he left the Financial Times .It was originally edited by Elizabeth Spiers. Gawker's official launch was in December 2002. When Spiers left Gawker, she was replaced by Choire Sicha, a former art dealer. Sicha was employed in this position until August 2004, at which point he was replaced by Jessica Coen, and he became editorial director of Gawker Media. Sicha left for the New York Observer six months after his promotion.
The Financial Times (FT) is an English-language international daily newspaper owned by Japanese company Nikkei Inc, headquartered in London, with a special emphasis on business and economic news.
Choire Sicha is an American writer and blogger. As of September 2017, he became the editor of The New York Times Styles section. Previously, he served as Vox Media's director of partner platforms, co-editor at Gawker, and a co-founder of The Awl.
Gawker Media LLC was an online media company and blog network.
Later, in 2005, the editor position was split between two co-editors, and Coen was joined by guest editors from a variety of New York City-based blogs; Matt Haber was engaged as co-editor for several months, and Jesse Oxfeld joined for longer. In July 2006, Oxfeld's contract was not renewed, and Alex Balk was installed. Chris Mohney, formerly of Gridskipper, Gawker Media's travel blog, was hired for the newly created position of managing editor.
On September 28, 2006, Coen announced in a post on Gawker that she would be leaving the site to become deputy online editor at Vanity Fair. Balk shared responsibility for the Gawker site with co-editor Emily Gould. Associate editor Maggie Shnayerson also began writing for the site; she replaced Doree Shafrir, who left in September 2007 for the New York Observer .
Emily Gould is an American author, novelist and blogger who rose to prominence as an editor at Gawker.com. She has written several short stories and novels and is the co-owner, with fellow writer Ruth Curry, of the independent e-bookstore Emily Books.
Maggie Shnayerson is an American journalist and blogger. She was an editor at Gawker Media's flagship site, Gawker.com and has written for TIME magazine, the New York Sun, and the New York Post. Before joining Gawker, Shnayerson was the public relations director for the Village Voice and the New York Sun.
Doree Shafrir is an American author and senior writer at BuzzFeed. She was previously an editor at Rolling Stone, Gawker and The New York Observer. She is the author of the novel STARTUP and co-editor of the collection Love, Mom: Poignant, Goofy, Brilliant Messages from Home.
In February 2007, Sicha returned from his position at the New York Observer, and replaced Mohney as the managing editor. On September 21, 2007, Gawker announced Balk's departure to edit Radar Magazine's website; he was replaced by Alex Pareene of Wonkette .
The literary journal n+1 published a long piece on the history and future of Gawker, concluding that, "You could say that as Gawker Media grew, from Gawker’s success, Gawker outlived the conditions for its existence".
In 2008, weekend editor Ian Spiegelman quit Gawker because Denton fired his friend Sheila McClear without cause. He made that clear in several comments on the site at the time, also denouncing what he said was its practice of hiring full-time employees as independent contractors in order to avoid paying taxes and employment benefits.
On October 3, 2008, Gawker announced that 19 staff members were being laid off in response to expected economic hardships in the coming months. Most came from sites with low ad revenue.
On November 12, 2008, the company announced selling the popular blog site Consumerist and the folding of Valleywag, with managing editor Owen Thomas being demoted to a columnist on Gawker, and the rest of the staff being laid off. Some members and staff writers complained that owner Nick Denton was looking to sell out all of the Gawker sites while they were still profitable.
In December 2009, Denton was nominated for "Media Entrepreneur of the Decade" by Adweek, and Gawker was named "Blog of the Decade" by the advertising trade. Brian Morrissey of Adweek said "Gawker remains the epitome of blogging: provocative, brash, and wildly entertaining".
In February 2010, Denton announced that Gawker was acquiring the "people directory" site CityFile.com, and was hiring that site's editor and publisher, Remy Stern, as the new editor-in-chief of Gawker. Gabriel Snyder, who had been editor-in-chief for the previous 18 months and had greatly increased the site's readership, released a memo saying he was being let go from the job.
In December 2011, A. J. Daulerio, former editor-in-chief of Gawker Media sports site Deadspin, replaced Remy Stern as editor-in-chief at Gawker. The company replaced several other editors, contributing editors, and authors; others left. Richard Lawson went to the Atlantic Wire, a blog of the magazine, The Atlantic Monthly.
In 2012, the website changed its focus away from editorial content and toward what its new editor-in-chief A. J. Daulerio called "traffic whoring" and "SEO bomb throws".In January 2013 Daulerio reportedly asked for more responsibility over other Gawker Media properties, but after a short time was pushed out by publisher Denton. Daulerio was replaced as editor-in-chief by longtime Gawker writer John Cook.
In March 2014, Max Read became the Gawker's editor-in-chief.In April 2014, using internet slang was banned per new writing style guidelines.
In June 2015, Gawker editorial staff voted to unionize.Employees joined the Writers Guild of America. Approximately three-fourths of employees eligible to vote voted in favor of the decision. Gawker staff announced the vote on May 28, 2015.
Following the decision to delete a controversial story in July 2015, Read and Gawker Media executive editor Tommy Craggs resigned in protest. Leah Beckmann, the site's then deputy editor, took over as interim editor in chief. She was replaced in October 2015 by Alex Pareene.
On August 18, 2016, Gawker announced that it would be shutting down following the company's acquisition by Univision Communications.Its other six websites were unaffected and continue to operate under Univision.
Gawker's article archive remains online following its shutdown, and its employees were transferred to the other six websites or elsewhere in Univision.
On July 12, 2018, Bryan Goldberg, owner of Bustle and Elite Daily, purchased Gawker.com in a bankruptcy auction for less than $1.5 million.
On January 16, 2019, it was announced Carson Griffith, Ben Barna, Maya Kosoff and Anna Breslaw were joining the staff of the new Gawker.However, on January 23, 2019, Kosoff and Breslaw announced they were quitting the site over offensive workplace comments made by Griffith. "We’re disappointed it ended this way, but we can’t continue to work under someone who is antithetical to our sensibility and journalistic ethics, or for an employer [CEO Bryan Goldberg] who refuses to listen to the women who work for him when it’s inconvenient," Kosoff and Breslaw said in a statement.
In March 2019, Dan Peres was announced as the site's editor-in-chief.
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Gawker usually published more than 20 posts daily during the week, sometimes reaching 30 posts a day, with limited publishing on the weekends. The site also published content from its sister sites. Gawker's content consisted of celebrity and media industry gossip, critiques of mainstream news outlets, and New York-centric stories. The stories generally came from anonymous tips from media employees, found mistakes and faux pas in news stories caught by readers and other blogs, and original reporting.
On July 3, 2006, when publisher Nick Denton replaced Jesse Oxfeld with Alex Balk, Oxfeld claimed it was an attempt to make the blog more mainstream and less media-focused, ending a tradition of heavy media coverage at Gawker.
Denton announced in a staff memo in November 2015 that the site was switching from covering New York and the media world to focus primarily on politics.
On October 4, 2012, Daulerio posted a short clip of Hulk Hogan and Heather Clem, the estranged wife of Todd Alan Clem, having sex.Hogan sent Gawker a cease-and-desist order to take the video down, but Denton refused. Denton cited the First Amendment and argued the accompanying commentary had news value. Judge Pamela Campbell issued an injunction ordering Gawker to take down the clip. In April 2013, Gawker wrote, "A judge told us to take down our Hulk Hogan sex tape post. We won't." It also stated that "we are refusing to comply" with the order of the circuit court judge.
Gawker's actions have been criticized as hypocritical since they heavily criticized other media outlets and websites for publishing hacked nude pictures of celebrities.
Hogan filed a lawsuit against Gawker and Denton for violating his privacy, asking for $100 million in damages; the trial was slated for July 2015.The cost of the lawsuit was partly funded by Peter Thiel, whom Gawker had previously outed in 2007. In January 2016, Gawker Media received its first outside investment by selling a minority stake to Columbus Nova Technology Partners. Denton stated that the deal was reached in part to bolster its financial position in response to the Hogan case.
In March 2016, Hulk Hogan was awarded $140 million in damages by a Florida jury in an invasion of privacy case over Gawker's publication of a sex tape: on March 18, Hogan was awarded $55 million for economic harm and $60 million for emotional distress;on March 21, 2016, the jury awarded Hogan a further $25 million in punitive damages. On November 2, Gawker reached a $31 million settlement with Hogan.
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In 2007, Gawker published an article by Owen Thomas outing Silicon Valley venture capitalist Peter Thiel as gay. This together with a series of articles about his friends and others that he said "ruined people’s lives for no reason" motivated Thiel to fund lawsuits against Gawker by people complaining that their privacy had been invaded, including Hulk Hogan.
On July 16, 2015, Gawker reporter Jordan Sargent posted a story about a gay porn star's alleged text correspondence with a married executive from a competing media company, Condé Nast. The article claimed Condé Nast CFO David Geithner had planned to go to Chicago to meet a male escort, and pay him $2,500 for sex. The article also claimed that after the escort requested Geithner settle the escort's housing dispute, he cancelled the meetup, and the escort went to Gawker to publicize the alleged incident. The post sparked heavy criticism for outing the executive, both within and outside Gawker.Denton removed the story the next day, after Gawker Media's managing partnership voted 4–2 to remove the post—marking the first time the website had "removed a significant news story for any reason other than factual error or legal settlement." On July 20, 2015, Gawker Media executive editor Tommy Craggs and Gawker.com editor-in-chief Max Read posted their resignations from the company, citing the lack of transparency by and independence from the company's management over the post's removal, rather than the concerns over the post's issues and received criticism, as the cause. Denton offered staff who disagreed with the actions a buyout option, which was accepted by staff including features editor Leah Finnegan and senior editor and writer Caity Weaver. Denton defended the story's writer, Sargent, who remained in his job.
According to The Daily Beast , "a source familiar with the situation said Gawker ultimately paid the subject of the offending article a tidy undisclosed sum in order to avoid another lawsuit." Gawker Media President and General Counsel Heather Dietrick declined to confirm or deny there was a settlement.
On June 10, 2016, Gawker Media and its associated subsidiaries Gawker Sales, Gawker Entertainment, Gawker Technology and Blogwire filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the Southern District of New York, following the loss of the Hogan lawsuit.CNBC also reported that Gawker Media would be put up for auction following the bankruptcy filing.
On August 18, 2016, Gawker Media announced that its flagship blog, gawker.com, would be ceasing operations the following week.Univision continues to operate Gawker Media's six other websites - Deadspin, Gizmodo, Jalopnik, Jezebel, Kotaku and Lifehacker. On August 22, 2016, Nick Denton wrote the final article for Gawker, titled "How Things Work".
Univision has since deleted all the comments on Gawker articles.
On March 14, 2006, Gawker.com launched Gawker Stalker Maps, a mashup of the site's Gawker Stalker feature and Google Maps.After this Gawker Stalker, originally a weekly roundup of celebrity sightings in New York City submitted by Gawker readers, was frequently updated, and the sightings are displayed on a map. The feature sparked criticism from celebrities and publicists for encouraging stalking. Actor and director George Clooney's representative Stan Rosenfeld described Gawker Stalker as "a dangerous thing". Jessica Coen has said that the map is harmless, that Gawker readers are "for the most part, a very educated, well-meaning bunch", and that "if there is someone really intending to do a celebrity harm, there are much better ways to go about doing that than looking at the Gawker Stalker". On April 6, 2007, Emily Gould appeared on an edition of Larry King Live hosted by talk show host Jimmy Kimmel during a panel discussion titled "Paparazzi: Do they go too far?" and was asked about the Gawker Stalker. Kimmel accused the site of potentially assisting real stalkers, adding that Gould and her website could ultimately be responsible for someone's death. Kimmel continued to claim a lack of veracity in Gawker's published stories, and the potential for libel it presents. At the end of the exchange Gould said that she didn't "think it was OK" for websites to publish false information, after which Kimmel said she should "check your website then." Gawker Stalker was redirected to the list of Gawker stories tagged with "Stalker" and the map is no longer posted online.
On January 15, 2008, Gawker mirrored the Scientology video featuring Tom Cruise from the recently removed posting on YouTube.They soon posted a copyright infringement notice written by lawyers for Scientology. By July 2009, the video had not been removed and no lawsuit was filed.
On September 17, 2008, in reporting that pranksters associated with 4chan had hacked the personal e-mail account of Alaska Governor and vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, Gawker published screenshots of the emails, photos, and address list obtained by the hackers.While accessing personal e-mail accounts without authorization constitutes a federal crime, current DOJ interpretation of this statute following the decision in Theofel v. Farey-Jones is that perpetrators may be prosecuted only for reading "unopened" emails. FBI Spokesman Eric Gonzalez in Anchorage, Alaska, confirmed that an investigation was underway.
On October 28, 2010, Gawker posted an anonymous post entitled, "I Had a One-Night Stand with Christine O'Donnell", discussing an alleged romantic encounter with the Republican nominee for the United States Senate in Delaware. However, according to the writer, O'Donnell only slept naked with the anonymous writer and did not have sex with him.The National Organization for Women condemned the piece as "slut-shaming". NOW's president, Terry O'Neill, stated, "It operates as public sexual harassment. And like all sexual harassment, it targets not only O'Donnell, but all women contemplating stepping into the public sphere." Salon's Justin Elliott criticized the ad hominem nature of the article, tweeting "Today, we are all Christine O'Donnell." Gawker.com reportedly paid in the "low four figures" for the story. Denton defended it, praising its "brilliant packaging".
In February 2011, Gawker posted an email exchange between United States Congressman Chris Lee and a woman he had met through a personal ad on Craigslist. The emails included the married Lee describing himself as a divorced lobbyist and a photo of him posing shirtless.Lee resigned his Congressional seat within hours of Gawker's story.
On December 11, 2010, Gawker and Gizmodo were hacked by a group named Gnosis. The hackers gained root access to the Linux-based servers, access to the source code, access to Gawker's custom CMS, databases (including writer and user passwords), Google Apps, and real-time chat logs from Gawker's Campfire instance, in addition to the Twitter accounts of Nick Denton and Gizmodo.The hacker group stated that they went after Gawker for their "outright arrogance" and for a previous feud between Gawker and 4chan. Gawker asked all its users to change their passwords and posted an advisory notice as well.
The following day, a database dump of user credentials, chat logs, and source code of the Gawker website was made available on The Pirate Bay, among other BitTorrent trackers.
On October 12, 2012, Adrian Chen posted an article identifying Reddit moderator Violentacrez as Michael Brutsch.In the days prior to publication of the story, Reddit's main politics channel, r/politics, and a number of other forums on the site banned Gawker links from their page; at one point, Gawker was banned from all of Reddit.
Gawker was sued by three former interns in 2013 for failing to pay them for producing revenue-generating content.As of February 2016, the case was still ongoing.
Wonkette is an American online magazine of topical satire and political gossip, established in 2004 by Gawker Media and founding editor Ana Marie Cox, edited by Ken Layne from 2006 to 2012, and owned and edited by Rebecca Schoenkopf since 2012. Prominent U.S. political bloggers including Juli Weiner, Jim Newell and Alex Pareene established their careers at Wonkette. The current editor is Rebecca Schoenkopf, formerly of OC Weekly. Wonkette covers US politics from Washington DC to local schoolboards. Taking a sarcastic tone, the site focuses heavily on humorous breaking news, rumors, and the downfall of the powerful. It also deals with serious matters of politics and policy, producing in-depth analysis.
Kinja is a free online news aggregator, launched in April 2004. It is operated by Gizmodo Media Group, which was purchased by Univision Communications during Gawker Media's bankruptcy.
Kotaku is a video game website and blog that was originally launched in 2004 as part of the Gawker Media network. Univision Communications bought Gawker Media in August 2016 and rebranded it as Gizmodo Media Group.
Deadspin is a sports news and blog website, originally founded by Gawker Media, and currently owned by the Gizmodo Media Group subsidiary of Univision Communications' Fusion Media Group.
Lifehacker is a weblog about life hacks and software which launched on January 31, 2005. The site was originally launched by Gawker Media and is currently owned by Univision Communications. The blog posts cover a wide range of topics including: Microsoft Windows, Mac, Linux programs, iOS and Android, as well as general life tips and tricks.The Lifehacker motto is "Tips, tricks, and downloads for getting things done."
Alex Pareene is an American writer and editor. He was the editor of the online news magazine Gawker.
Valleywag was a Gawker Media blog with gossip and news about Silicon Valley personalities. It was initially launched under the direction of editor Nick Douglas in February 2006. After Douglas was fired, the blog was taken over by Owen Thomas. Thomas himself left in May 2009, to be replaced by Ryan Tate. It was the first to break some stories, such as the leaking of a Gene Simmons sex tape. However, it has been criticized for broadcasting unsubstantiated and damaging gossip about people who are not in the public eye, such as a college intern who falsely called in sick to work and had it publicized across the Internet by Valleywag. The blog ceased operating in February 2011, and the URL began directing to a Gawker page with a selection of technology industry-themed stories.
Gizmodo is a design, technology, science and science fiction website. It was originally launched as part of the Gawker Media network run by Nick Denton, and runs on the Kinja platform. Gizmodo also includes the subsite io9, which focuses on science fiction and futurism.
Consumerist was a non-profit consumer affairs website owned by Consumer Media LLC, a subsidiary of Consumer Reports, with content created by a team of full-time reporters and editors. The site's focus was on consumerism and consumers' experiences and issues with companies and corporations, concentrating mostly on U.S. consumers. As an early proponent of crowdsourced journalism, some content was based on reader-submitted tips and complaints. The majority of the site's articles consisted of original content and reporting by the site's staff. On October 30, 2017, Consumer Reports shut down Consumerist, stating that coverage of consumer issues would now be found on the main Consumer Reports website.
Jezebel is a blog geared towards women, under the tagline "Celebrity, Sex, Fashion for Women. Without Airbrushing." It was launched in 2007 by Gawker Media and is currently owned by Univision Communications.
Owen Thomas is an American blogger, journalist, and entrepreneur. He is the business editor at The San Francisco Chronicle.
Andrew Alan Escher Auernheimer, best known by his pseudonym weev, is an American computer grey hat hacker affiliated with the alt-right. The Southern Poverty Law Center describes him as "a neo-Nazi white supremacist" known for "extremely violent rhetoric advocating genocide of non-whites". He has identified himself using a variety of aliases to the media, although most sources correctly provide his first name as Andrew.
Ryan Holiday is an American author, marketer, and entrepreneur. He is a media strategist, the former director of marketing for American Apparel and a media columnist and editor-at-large for the New York Observer.
The social news site Reddit has occasionally been the topic of controversy due to the presence of communities on the site devoted to explicit or controversial material. In 2012, Yishan Wong, the site's then-CEO, stated, "We stand for free speech. This means we are not going to ban distasteful subreddits. We will not ban legal content even if we find it odious or if we personally condemn it."
A.J. Daulerio is an American writer and blogger. He is the former editor of Gawker and Deadspin. Daulerio famously published an excerpt of Hulk Hogan’s sex tape which led to a lawsuit and the bankruptcy and sale of Gawker Media.