Well, Bye. Gawker’s Top Editors Resign Because They’re Mad That Gay-Shaming Article Was Deleted

In an ugly public spectacle, Gawker's executive editor and editor-in-chief both resigned over management's decision to delete a post that outed a closeted gay man.

On Monday, days after Gawker ran a universally condemned article in which a private citizen publicly was outed as gay for apparently trying to meet up with an escort,  Tommy Craggs and Max Read announced their resignations as the company’s executive editor and editor-in-chief, respectively. The article in question, written by Jordan Sargent, reported that the CFO of a rival media company paid a gay porn star to meet up and have sex. The subject of the piece is a married father and not a publicly known figure, but does have a well-known brother. While the escort was afforded anonymity in the piece, the subject was completely exposed.

Immediately after the piece was published, Gawker’s readers and other journalists expressed nearly unanimous disgust that Gawker allowed the article to be published. The main complaint was that the piece served no public interest whatsoever and was merely a hit job on a private individual who happened to work for a rival. Also, due to the obvious salacious nature of the article, it was likely going to get a lot of clicks and attention. Another criticism is it was obviously homophobic in that it meant to ‘gay shame’ the individual. Considering that the person was not publicly known or a political figure with a history of anti-gay policies, there seemed to be no real reason for this exposure.

Gawker’s CEO and founder, Nick Denton, felt that the public shellacking Gawker was receiving was enough to warrant taking down the piece. After discussing with the other managing partners and legal counsel, it was agreed to delete the post. The one dissenting voice was Craggs, who claimed that none of the editorial staff agreed that the piece should come down. After the article had been deleted on Friday, Gawker’s editorial staff posted a petulant statement on the site, claiming that it was an ethical breach by management.

While Craggs and Read have resigned over their belief that they are taking a principled stand over journalistic ethics — especially ironic since Gawker has hammered #GamerGate over its claims that it’s about ethics in gamer journalism — they are not seeing many defenders, except for their own circle of Gawker writers and editors. You would be hard-pressed to find anyone else in the media, or those who regularly read Gawker, claiming that Gawker’s staff is in the right here. Especially since Craggs and Read have shown no contrition regarding the personal and professional damage caused by the article. (Worse, they’re making themselves out like the real victims in this mess, not the man or family that they destroyed by running the piece.)

After Gawker posted Craggs’ and Read’s statements, the majority of comments on the site showed absolutely no sympathy for them and their so-called stand for editorial freedom. Essentially, the consensus opinion among the readers was “don’t let the door hit you in the ass on your way out.” Meanwhile, the story was pretty much the same on Twitter, especially among fellow journalists and editors.



Here’s the kind of sendoff they deserve:

Justin Baragona is the editor and publisher of Contemptor. Prior to starting the site, he worked on the editorial staff of PoliticusUSA. During that time, he had his work quoted by USA Today and BBC News, among others. Justin began his published career as a political writer for 411Mania. He currently resides in St. Louis, MO with his wife and pets.
One Comment
  • Dyson
    11 August 2015 at 8:48 pm

    I find myself forced to resign, effective immediately. The Managing Partnership as a whole is responsible for the Company s management and direction, but they do not and should not make editorial decisions.

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