A timeline of Gawker's tumultuous week
Last week, media site Gawker published an article exposing Condé Nast CFO David Geithner's attempt to hire a male escort in Chicago for $2,500. The influential site's post lit an online firestorm and set off a chain of events which eventually led editor-in-chief Max Read and executive editor Tommy Craggs to resign today.
Here's a timeline of events in this ongoing story and reactions.
July 16th, 8:26 pm: Gawker published an article with the headline "Condé Nast's CFO Tried To Pay $2,500 for a Night With a Gay Porn Star". An immediate backlash ignited online, both in the Gawker comment section and on Twitter, from those who considered the story untasteful and questioned its necessity.
Former Gawker editor-in-chief Max Read defended the article on Twitter.
given the chance gawker will always report on married c-suite executives of major media companies fucking around on their wives— max read (@max_read) July 17, 2015
July 17th, 12:29 pm: Journalist Glen Greenwald published a rebuke to Read on his website, the Intercept, calling the article "one of the sleaziest and most repugnant articles seen in quite some time from an outlet of its size and stature."
2:30 pm: Gawker founder Nick Denton published a Kinja post explaining his decision to take down the article, calling it "a decision I regret."
2:32 pm: Former Gawker writer Adam Weinstein published a blog post detailing his firing from Gawker the month before and his disappointment over the article, blaming bad editing, not writer Jordan Sargent, for the controversy. "We all need editors to push us to report better, to write better, to exercise better judgment," he wrote.
5:59 pm: A furious statement from Gawker's editorial staff called the takedown an "unprecedented breach of the firewall." The post, and comments on it made by Gawker writers, made it clear that the staff's indignation was over the method by which the piece was taken down, not over the content of the piece itself, on which their opinions differed. There was also a cute cat.
July 20th, 11:55 am: Gawker writer J.K. Trotter published a post announcing that editor-in-chief Max Read and Tommy Craggs, the executive editor, were resigning over the events of the last few days. The post included the emails from Read and Craggs to their staff, explaining their resignations. "That this post was deleted at all is an absolute surrender of Gawker’s claim to 'radical transparency,'" Read wrote.
Twitter was filled with responses from media workers:
Not incompatible to say 1) story was sleazy & 2) biz side should not call editorial shots (if that's what happened) http://t.co/C29DAh72b2— James Poniewozik (@poniewozik) July 20, 2015
Somehow Gawker, thru its breach of an editorial-business firewall, has transformed journalistic irresponsibility into free-speech martyrdom.— Spencer Ackerman (@attackerman) July 20, 2015
No matter how vile that post was, the Gawker writers have an obviously valid grievance about who decided to remove it: sales/business execs.— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) July 19, 2015
July 21st, 10:00 Am: The New York Times reported that Gawker and Jezebel shut down for several hours on the 20th, but the editors declined to make a statement. On the morning of the 21st, all Gawker sites were running as usual.
11:22 am: Gawker writer Rich Juzwiak takes to Kinja to discuss the original Geithner story from the perspective of a gay Gawker employee. He writes of a similar instance when he had information about a closeted NFL player, and his decision to not out him. He also criticizes the Geithner article and the protection of the escort in the piece. "I think that we protected the wrong guy," he wrote.
We'll keep you updated as the story progresses.