The decision by a Florida jury to grant $140 million in damages for a story on Gawker.com about a Hulk Hogan sex tape was extraordinary. The number is far larger than even the plaintiff himself had asked for in relief. It’s a huge pay-day for an indiscretion that would have been quickly forgotten, one among many in the professional wrestler’s personal life.
Yesterday, Gawker published a post about the CFO of Condé Nast attempting to pay a gay porn star for a night in a Chicago hotel. Today the managing partnership of Gawker Media voted, 4-2*, to remove the post. Executive editor Tommy Craggs, who helped edit the piece, and President Heather Dietrick, who reviewed and cleared it before publication in her capacity as Gawker Media’s chief legal counsel, were the only partners who dissented.
So here is an intriguing media rumor: Rupert Murdoch is angling to purchase Gawker Media. Yesterday, at least two media reporters approached at least two Gawker Media employees about a potential sale to Murdoch’s News Corp—or, more likely, 21st Century Fox. Apparently the rumor was first posted to Secret, the anonymous messaging smartphone app, though we couldn’t find a copy of the actual post. Efforts to determine the rumor’s origin came up empty.
You may have noticed this morning that things that looked large on this website yesterday are now looking small, and things that were at the top are now on the side, and some things have disappeared while other things have appeared. Welcome to the latest iteration of Gawker.
Out has named Nate Silver its Person of the Year, and the resulting profile by editor Aaron Hicklin is an endearing portrait of a dude who is doing well at life by being so right all the time. There's great stuff about the making of the man and his dealings with those who try to undo him. He says flattering things about Nick Denton ("He's willing to be kind of destructive and path-breaking, and to challenge the status quo; in some ways, it's kind of more my style"); Denton barely returns the favor ("He's not necessarily the best statistician, but he might be the best stats geek who can also write—and perform on television. His steadiness under pundit fire before the election was something to witness."). Heh.
The Petraeus scandal has taken a terrifying turn. The ever-widening circle of dark and shifty characters involved in the CIA sexcapade now includes figures associated with the Lincoln Group, the secretive Iraq and Afghanistan propaganda contractor famous for paying Iraqi newspapers to run fake pro-American news stories. Which means that it also extends to a furtive, enigmatic, foreign-born media titan whose closely held firm is busily extending its tendrils into the national consciousness: Gawker Media founder Nicholas Guido Denton. Let me explain.
After we published nearly 1,000 pages of Bain Capital's confidential financial records—including audits revealing for the first time that Bain employed a potentially illegal tax dodge currently under investigation by the New York attorney general—we thought we might hear from the good folks at Mitt Romney's former private equity firm, perhaps asking us to take down the documents. Well, Bain finally got in touch yesterday. And they want to explore investing in Gawker Media.
Currently, Anil Dash is prepping for his SXSW panel chat with Nick Denton about the 'failure' of internet comments by having a civilized discussion with a Mount Rushmore of internet experts and it is calm and informative. Do you think we can have a similar discussion without calling each other cockfaced assholes and be free of bannings or de-starrings? Meet me in the section below and we shall see.
NBC's anchordude Brian Williams and blog villain Nick Denton are pals. They have mutual acquaintances, both love technology, pretty things, and email with each other like a couple of gossiping secretaries. Therefore, when Brian Williams offers critiques about Gawker's content, we are obligated to listen. See below.
Last night Gawker founder Nick Denton hosted a little soiree at his Soho pad to welcome the American staff of the Guardian who recently moved their office to the neighborhood. And what is a party without a photo booth and a few boldfaced media names? We didn't save you any tea sandwiches, but you can at least enjoy the pictures.