Today, after six years at Gawker Media, Sam “Bring Back Bullying” Biddle’s reign of terror is finally over. We will all miss him dearly.
From Editor-in-Chief Alex Pareene
I hope to receive some credit for the fact that after so many Gawker editors before me, I was the one to finally drive Biddle away.
While I’m admittedly sad to be losing Sam Biddle, I have to say I think he made the right professional move. It’s not always easy to figure out what you should do after working at Gawker, but as soon as Sam told me he was going to be a senior writer at Dabiq magazine I knew there was no way I could convince him to stick around: It was simply the perfect place for someone with Sam’s talents and fanatical beliefs.
From Executive Features Editor Tom Scocca:
Five thoughts about Sam Biddle:
1. Sam Biddle wears the worst shoes I have ever seen anyone wear, and I barely pay attention to shoes.
2. Sam Biddle is very much a millennial in that the more he performs his idea of himself on social media, the worse he is.
3. Sam Biddle is of an old lineage in Baltimore—there is a Biddle Street downtown—which helped make Baltimore everything it is today.
4. Sam Biddle has achieved the deeply unlikely feat of being an emo lax bro.
5. Sam Biddle still doesn’t know who keeps deleting his messages in Slack.
From Executive Managing Editor Lacey Donohue:
Sam Biddle is a nightmare in Slack, his knowledge of basic nutrition is shockingly poor, he doesn’t know how to drive a car, and he still owes me money. But I’m going to forgive that debt because Sam, the brilliant reporter and writer who once texted me early on a Sunday morning to ask “is oatmeal bad for you?” is also one of the most loving and generous people I’ve ever met.
My first interaction with Sam was an email he sent telling me a blog I’d written on a Gawker night shift was funny. I won’t link the blog because it’s actually not funny (Sam will laugh at anything), but that’s the kind of colleague he is: a relentlessly supportive team player, who, when he isn’t busy begging for attention on Twitter, goes out of his way to make every coworker feel like they are the best writers and editors in the world. He was my first Gawker friend and my best Gawker friend. I bet everyone else feels the same.
From Art Director Jim Cooke:
Sam is a kind, warm, and smart writer and I am proud to have worked with him all these years. But he has a laugh that is loud, unmistakably recognizable, and frequent. Sharing an office with him sometimes sounds like being in an asylum. He laughs openly even if something is only barely funny. It’s the kind of laugh that you might think you hear, off in the distance, even if it’s not there. It follows you around. I will miss Sam, but I fear that his laugh will haunt me forever.
From Deputy Editor Kelly Stout:
My first time inside the Gawker office was at some kind of party instead of a regular work day, and I felt intimidated by the vibe, so Sam kindly offered to act as my “spiritual counselor and guide.” And so it was in perpetuity. As much a pleasure as he is to read, he is a joy ten times over to edit because Sam is the rare writer who is almost always right, yet never insists that he is. I will miss everything about him except how disgusting his desk is. I left a salad there overnight once and he didn’t notice.
From Senior Writer Hamilton Nolan:
Many people would be shocked to discover that Sam Biddle is an extremely talented reporter, an engaging writer, and one of the best bloggers we had here in years. I sure was. Before I knew Sam, he was, in my mind, the guy who got to take a junket in order to write about a bath tub. I was jealous of him, yes, but I also was not jealous of his unique fashion sense. As Sam and I grew to become less enemies the longer he worked here, he would often send me text messages. Here is a sampling of text messages I have received from Sam Biddle:
-“I’m at the end of my rope”
-“I’m a snake”
-“I’m a snake in the grass”
-“I’d love to be thrown to the ground in a huge pile of mulch”
Although I never got the chance to get Sam to stop saying “lol” as a nervous tic, I still consider him my friend. He is really a nice guy and I’m sure that he will do great things at The Intercept, although not as good as this.
From News Editor Gabby Bluestone
Sam is a funny and talented writer who always has a pack of what I assume is communal gum on his desk. I will miss Sam, his gum, and his disturbing relationship with Hamilton.
From Senior Writer Rich Juzwiak
I call my Sammy a red cutie. Watermelon season just won’t be the same without him.
From Senior Writer Keenan Trotter
This website, and this company, will be lesser in Sam Biddle’s absence. That’s not just because his body of reporting offers one of the best arguments for Gawker’s existence. It’s because he is one of the truest believers in what Gawker does, and the people who do it, every day. What else can I say? Sam: I love you, and it breaks my heart that you’re leaving.
From Staff Writer Andy Cush
It’s hard for me to imagine a Gawker without Sam. He’s been here for much longer than I have, and he represents a sort of platonic ideal of a writer for the site’s current iteration: irreverent, opinionated, thick-skinned, dogged in both his reporting and his commitment to humiliating himself in blog posts and workplace Slack chats and as regularly as possible. But what stands out even more than the greatest hits of his distinguished career here—the Sony Hack, Brands Are Not Your Friends, and if I’m being selfish, our work together on the mystery of Satoshi Nakamoto come to mind—is a story he never got around to posting at all. I’m talking about the holy grail of Gawker’s unpublished drafts section: “Why Is Incest So Hot (Right Now)?”, a Sam Biddle screed, penned February 3, 2015, that for reasons you and I can only guess at never saw the light of day. More than losing Sam’s penetrating mind, or his inscrutable but undeniable sense of humor, or his heroic aversion to bullshit in all its forms, what I’ll lament most about his departure is that our readers will never know what he meant when he wrote about “a chic sort of incest,” and “a modern kind of cousin-fucking.”
From Staff Writer Jordan Sargent
My favorite sentence Sam ever wrote has been erased from the internet. Thankfully, it was preserved by my Twitter account:
It neatly encapsulates everything that is great about Sam’s writing: the rage of the oppressed, the easy humor, the extreme confidence in his words despite the possibility that he has no clue what he’s talking about. Sometimes in my most quiet moments I think of Wrigley Field theatrically crumbling to the ground like something out of the San Andreas trailer while a guy with a Boston accent screams “AH FAHK YOU!!” in pure, utter anguish—the hallowed home of his beloved baseball team (the... Boston Cubs?) morphing into dust before his eyes. It’s a perfect image that makes me smile. I cherish it. This sentence is a work of art.
From Senior Editor Marina Galperina
“Such very interesting socks” and “what a really nice guy” I thought, the first time I finally met Sam when he came down to talk to me in the lobby when he really didn’t have to. Now, I know Sam to be a consistently righteous human, who luckily for everyone is a brilliant, passionate reporter. He also might have incepted me with the idea that the world is one giant startup and no one will tell us what it does because it really does nothing. I will continue to admire his work from not-so-a-far and wish him a prolific time at the Intercept taking all the fuckers down.
From Senior Writer Ashley Feinberg:
As much as Sam would try to deny it, and as much as it pains me to say it now, Sam Biddle is one of the most genuinely kind people I’ve met. I started as an intern at Gizmodo about two years after Sam did, and I still remember how, in my first few weeks, Sam would feed me links and post ideas over IM so that I could drop them in our group chat when I had no idea what I was doing. Also in my first week, Sam forced me to shotgun a beer on the roof after he put a match out on my knee. It’s a wonder he hasn’t been fired.
From Staff Writer Brendan O’Connor:
On an Internet that increasingly celebrates the narrow, myopic, and self-centered, few writers have been able to maintain as expansive and nuanced a voice as Biddle’s, embracing outrage and absurdity with unflappable aplomb. His clarity of thought and prose is remarkable unto itself without even taking into account the consistency with which he achieves it. Biddle’s best work is amongst the best that Gawker has ever published and is exemplary of what makes writers want to work here. It’s really too bad that he is dead now. Say what’s up to Harambe in heaven for us, Sam. RIP.
From Jezebel Editor-in-Chief Emma Carmichael:
Sam is one of the best coworkers I’ve ever had. He is funny, kind, endlessly self-deprecating, genuinely friendly, a reliable fellow neurotic, a loyal friend, and, of course, a proud virgin. He is the rare member of New York Media who is actually far better in person than he is online. This is all coming from someone who has plenty of reasons to hate him. I once asked Sam for help registering a domain for my personal website, and while he was helping me he bought it himself and put a stupid GIF of me dancing on it. Another time he bought me so many fake Twitter followers I got put on a “biggest frauds in sports media” list.
These owns are particularly frustrating because Sam remains a nearly impossible person to shame on the internet (I’ve been trying for 6 years now). The man has made a career half-formed out of constantly shaming himself, so there’s not much left to say. But I do have one thing to share today: His decade-old DCist archive, which includes, among gems like “Errrbody in the Bistro Gettin’ Tipsy” and “Iraq ‘n’ Roll,” my personal favorite Vintage Biddle: “Can A Sista Rock A Mic? Most of the Time, Yeah.” This blog post, a dispatch from a women’s hip hop showcase that some poor editor decided to send 19-year-old Sam Biddle to, contains the parenthetical, “(I’ll admit the few angry lines railing against ‘the oppressor’ made me gulp).” Sam! Silicon Valley had no idea what was coming. I’ll miss you, you prick.
From former Deadspin Staff Writer Kyle Wagner:
From former Editor-in-Chief Max Read:
I expect to outlive Sam, so I want to save my best material for his actual funeral. Suffice it to say: Sam is a superb reporter, excellent writer, and delightful co-worker. But readers of Gawker will only ever get part of Sam’s gifts. His true talent is emails and texts, which he sends to more or less randomly selected assortments of people, at odd hours of the day and night, without context or explanation. Off the top of my head I can think of half a dozen iMessage groups I know Sam to be in. Some evenings he will text them all the same thought at once, just to see what replies he’ll get. “I ate a lot of cured ham last night and I’m so dehydrated,” he texted me and two friends this morning.
One sunny Saturday afternoon a few weeks ago he forwarded, with no accompanying text, an Amazon order confirmation (for “Almost Meatless: Recipes That Are Better for Your Health and the Planet”) to me, some of his college friends, his girlfriend, and some former coworkers. I have a treasured email from last year, sent to a different group of unacquainted friends, to which is attached a PDF of a J. Crew shopping cart containing six t-shirts, some shorts, and a sweater. The subject line: “thoughts??” There are not many people who are so purely, gleefully themselves — so unmistakably likable and charming — that they could get away with this. But I do more than tolerate it from Sam: I look forward to it. I am excited to read what he does at the Intercept. But I am even more excited to learn, shoulder-to-shoulder with strangers, what he is purchasing from Best Buy. For the rest of my life.
From former Features Editor Leah Finnegan:
Editing Sam was like scraping fungus off a beautiful tree. Except the fungus was also beautiful. And psychedelic. Reading his words, sometimes I didn’t know if either of us were high or sober. I love Sam and I’m glad he’s my biological son. Sam and I both also love mice. I hope he finds a friend who loves mice at the Intercept. Bye.
From former Staff Writer Allie Jones:
I bet if Sam went back to high school now, he could be popular if he wanted.
From former Deadspin Staff Writer Leslie Horn:
Sam has done some fantastic investigative reporting over the past couple of years, but my favorite pieces of his are from his Gizmodo days. It’s OK To Be A Hater Because Everything Is Bad was written on a day that Sam was scheduled to go on vacation, but the trip was canceled last minute. So he directed that energy into this vitriol-filled post, which, I think still holds up. It also makes you wonder if he’s okay, which is part of the charm. This post was a part of a Gizmodo series called User Manual, which was home to other infamous Biddle posts worth remembering like Yes, You’re Allowed To Check Your Phone During Sex and So You Want To Watch Porn In Your Dorm Room. My other favorite Biddle piece is the time Sam took a trip to Kohler, Wisconsin alone to take a bath in an expensive tub and lived to write about it, partially because it’s full of personality and also because it yielded this GIF.
From former Staff Writer Dayna Evans
I’ll never forget the day Sam spent eight hours in the Gawker office watching a live-stream of bros spring breaking at a Holiday Inn in Panama City Beach, Florida. Gawker’s then edior-in-chief M*x Read repeatedly asked Sam if this was worth his time and if he had plans to eventually turn his voyeurism into a story. Biddle said yes, but none of us believed him. At the end of the day, by surprise, Biddle had published one of my favorite things he’s ever written: My Super Spring Break: Watching This Holiday Inn Pool Cam All Day. “Have you ever streamed the will to live?” Biddle writes. “I did for hours, and kept a diary.”
Biddle, just like the spring break bros, you were always perilously close to getting in trouble with the authorities, but also like the spring break bros, the time eventually came to get out of the pool. Good luck at your second-ever job (third if you count the tea shop you were constantly claiming you worked at in D.C.). Thanks for the memories, specifically the time you ordered us baked potatoes for lunch.
From Jezebel Deputy Editor Jia Tolentino:
Sam Biddle was the only person who said hi to me in the kitchen when I first started working at Gawker, and whenever I see him at the office, I still feel like I’ve just arrived at a daycare specializing in emotional disabilities and spotted my very best friend. Sometimes we wave at each other, usually with both hands, and sometimes we pass by each other in the hallway and say “Aw!” at the same time. It’s too bad that on that hot day in May he got too curious, became increasingly agitated by the screams of onlookers, dragged a tot through the waters of his own captivity, and then attempted to strut and bluff his way out of the situation. It was a tragedy that he was murdered by zoo officials and is currently burning in Ape Hell, but it was an unavoidable tragedy. I’m going to miss Sam a lot.
From former News Editor Taylor Berman:
In most ways, Sam was the perfect Gawker writer. He’s smart, funny, and unafraid to take the risks that any reasonable person would avoid because of their obvious and terrible consequences. Billionaires, deranged gamers, sociopathic media moguls, Max Read—-all sorts of bad people have taken their best shots at him, and he’s somehow survived, and even kind of thrived.
That said: Working with Sam was tough. I used to sit across from him, and almost every day I’d catch him staring at me. He’d often take creep shots of me and text them to my friends. Every three weeks or so, he’d go through my Facebook and post the most embarrassing pictures of me from college in Slack. He sold me a broken Kindle and then publicly mocked me for it. He also regularly claimed that I was his and Hamilton Nolan’s son. It all made me very uncomfortable, and my life has been much better these past six months that I haven’t worked with him. I’m excited that the rest of former colleagues will soon experience a similar relief, and I offer my sincere condolences to Glenn Greenwald.
From former Gizmodo Editor-in-Chief Joe Brown:
Brian Lam, former editor of Gizmodo, is a very sensitive man who loves the ocean. Once, I insulted a shark, and as revenge he hired Sam Biddle and then instantly quit the company—leaving me to deal with this jumped-up Maryland frat boy who thinks Twitter counts as writing.
The first story I ever assigned Sam was a techversary (Technology + anniversary. I didn’t name it.) on Sputnik 5, on the occasion of its 50th anniversary. We needed posts, and Intern Sam was a warm body. Match made in heaven. If that post reads like a Russian propaganda pamphlet authored by Rudyard Kipling, it’s because Li’l Bidness probably lifted the words from a Soviet textbook and ran them through Yahoo translate. I probably should have fired him right there, but I doubt it would have stopped him from coming into the office.
Just think of the contributions to culture and journalism we would have missed if I had been so rash: Racoon girl, the camgirls piece, the porn in the library post—we’d know nothing about porn if it weren’t for Sam and his tireless investigations.
I wish Sam the best of luck continuing his work at The Intercept. And I wish the Intercept the best of luck with Sam: His “Open Letter To the 5 Million Confused People Who Bought a Samsung Galaxy Note” cost the company more than half a million dollars in yanked Samsung advertising. But he’s great at shotgunning beers.
From former Deputy Editor Leah Beckmann:
Sam is a brilliant writer and a dauntless reporter, sure, but he’s more than that. We once took a trip together to The Watcher House, where we hoped to get the scoop of a lifetime. We didn’t get a scoop that day because we declined cigarettes (Sam is asthmatic :) ) from the extremely cool Watcher lawyer who offered them to us, but it didn’t matter. Instead we found the biggest scoop of them all: our friendship. Like Woodward and Bernstein, if they didn’t have sex.
Sam is kind, supportive, and hilarious. He is blessed with a curious mind that he often uses to find cute baby clothes for children he does not have. Perhaps my favorite memory of Sam is from 2013, when I watched him fall deeply in love with The Weather Channel interns. He felt a connection with one intern specifically, Shelly. Well Sammy babe, dreams do come true. Here is Weather Channel Intern Shelly in her own words:
Damn, sounds like Shelly has a great life. May the Intercept be your river in sunny Florida, and may you one day be as happy as a former Weather Channel intern. Don’t siss your pants on the first day. Love you bud.
From former Executive Editor Tommy Craggs:
Ed note: Tommy Craggs did not meet his deadline.
From Executive Editor John Cook:
biddle biddle biddle biddle biddle #FiveWordTechHorrors— John Cook (@johnjcook) December 11, 2013
@samfbiddle who wears a striped shirt with a bow tie nerd— John Cook (@johnjcook) December 14, 2013
@samfbiddle you suk nice bowtie— John Cook (@johnjcook) December 14, 2013
Saddest tweet ever RT @samfbiddle: Who wants to use Pair, "the Path for couples" with me?— John Cook (@johnjcook) March 27, 2012
@samfbiddle you have zero credibility on footwear— John Cook (@johnjcook) September 26, 2012
"My Apple thing broke and why is the internet slow and no one will go to the movies with me" - @samfbiddle— John Cook (@johnjcook) December 10, 2012
"Tits, pussy, asshole, cum, blowjob" - @samfbiddle— John Cook (@johnjcook) December 12, 2012
@samfbiddle it's important that you're asking for help— John Cook (@johnjcook) January 2, 2013
@samfbiddle God you are lonely— John Cook (@johnjcook) January 2, 2013
so alone, sam RT @samfbiddle: People are having sex riiiiiiiiiiiiight now— John Cook (@johnjcook) February 15, 2013
I frankly wish Biddle were taller— John Cook (@johnjcook) July 17, 2013
If anyone has any photos of @samfbiddle without socks, please forward immediately to my attention at john at gawker dot com— John Cook (@johnjcook) August 26, 2013
@samfbiddle good night sam— John Cook (@johnjcook) November 8, 2013
@samfbiddle 'night sam— John Cook (@johnjcook) November 8, 2013
@samfbiddle your first big-boy book!— John Cook (@johnjcook) November 26, 2013
@samfbiddle i saw how you fucked that tweet up and deleted is sam nice work— John Cook (@johnjcook) April 4, 2014
@samfbiddle i’ve never told anyone this before but my biggest regret is naming one of my children after you i wish i could take that back— John Cook (@johnjcook) April 23, 2014
@samfbiddle u r like a son to me— John Cook (@johnjcook) June 15, 2014
@samfbiddle i miss u— John Cook (@johnjcook) July 10, 2014
@samfbiddle sam u shld come work at the intercept— John Cook (@johnjcook) April 1, 2014
RIP @samfbiddle— John Cook (@johnjcook) June 30, 2012