New York's Worst Bosses: Nick Denton

With your help, we've ID'd some of the potentially worst bosses in New York. We'll be parading them in front of you daily, and when we're done, we'll all decide together who's the worst. Feel free to shout out your suggestions if any of these tales joggles a traumatized (or happy) memory!

Nick Denton is the publisher of Gawker Media, a company that includes the websites Gizmodo, Fleshbot, Valleywag, Defamer, Consumerist, Wonkette, Kotaku, Idolator, Lifehacker, Deadspin, Gridskipper, and... oh! Right. Gawker. The website you're reading right now. How meta! Or, well, how lame. Or, as one former Gawker employee puts it, "How wryly self-deprecatory. And therefore charmingly innoculating. He's good." Hey, he wasn't the one nominating him. And in some ways, he is good!

For one thing, according to some former employees, he's a pranksterish rapscallion, which is always a fun quality in a boss. Really. "Nick's like a four year old. You tell him not to touch something and he HAS to touch it. It's quite fun," says one, while another echoes, "He encourages insolence. He wants his editors to make mischief, to create a stir—and if you're fine with being in that role, it can be incredibly fun. It's a (not necessarily respectable but still kinda awesome) mandate that you won't really find elsewhere." And compared to working for almost any publisher, there's a shocking amount of autonomy.

But is there a darker side to Denton's whimsicality? Maybe. Well, YES. See, mischief becomes less fun when you're the target. One former editor remembers a time when Denton wanted to start "an unannounced (but not actually hidden or pword-protected) blog" that detailed all the editors' mistakes and the reprimands they'd received." Ha ... ha? This same former editor also mentions the "comments he leaves to undermine his editors" as a source of job dissatisfaction. Well, yes. Being publicly hung out to dry by one's boss is never fun. But is it funny? Actually, sometimes yes! And sometimes no. In any case, one editor hastens to clarify that sometimes Denton's 'mischief' can veer off in a much less okay direction, especially after a blogger has left for greener pastures: "Making shit up whole cloth is not mischief making. It's just being a jerk."

So what else is bad? Well. There was the Radar pie throwing incident (pictured). What happened, according to a former editor, was that Radar was having a party to celebrate its latest launch, and Denton attended. Someone thought it would be funny to throw a pie. According to the former editor, after the party Denton wrote on his personal blog that the pie had missed him, prompting Matt Drudge (huh, finding a lot of dead links! Suspicious!) to set the record straight. But already at 8:48 p.m., quite soon after the incident, a Gawker editor was compelled to post about the pie missing Denton's mug—and later had to correct the record. And yet! "He was able to convince a lot of people that the pie missed him, despite the hundred or so eyewitnesses and photographic evidence is really indicative of one of Nick's more pronounced talents: managing his own PR."

But the real question is—was the pie incident Denton's idea in the first place? We still don't know. That PR was expertly managed. And he's doing it right now! It's like he's inside our brain. ARRRGH. DENTON GOOD!