After nearly fourteen years of operation, Gawker.com will be shutting down next week. The decision to close Gawker comes days after Univision successfully bid $135 million for Gawker Media’s six other websites, and three months after the Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel revealed his clandestine legal campaign against the company.
Following a day-long auction against the online publisher Ziff Davis, the media conglomerate Univision is buying Gawker Media’s assets—including Deadspin, Gizmodo, Jalopnik, Jezebel, Kotaku, and Lifehacker—for $135 million. However, the fate of the company’s flagship website, Gawker.com, remains unclear.
Gawker Media is undergoing some changes. The publisher of this site, and many of your other favorite (Kotaku) and least favorite (Deadspin) blogs, will be sold at auction next week. We’re celebrating 14 years of hard-hitting independent journalism and also dog with a week of fond reminiscing, a few stories we’ve always wanted to do, and some fun surprises.
Perhaps the most embarrassing aspect of filing for bankruptcy is the well-meaning condolence note from a friend. “I’m so sorry,” more than one has written. That sympathy is often followed by fear for what Facebook director Peter Thiel’s revenge campaign—a billionaire secretly funding lawsuits against publishers, editors, and writers for stories that disrespected him and his friends—means for the functioning of a critical press.
Gawker Media has filed for bankruptcy, as you read on Gawker earlier today. What does that mean? For you, the reader, it means very little: We will continue to operate as usual through the Chapter 11 process. There will continue to be new stories on this website by all of your favorite Gawker writers and also Hamilton Nolan. Eventually, things might be different—for example, anthropogenic climate change will probably lead to widespread famine and endless resource wars—but for now, we’re not going anywhere. Thanks for reading.
Author and friend of Gawker Mac Montandon is behind Fun Lovers Unite!, an evening of music and comedy benefiting the Manhattan Chapter of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, happening Wednesday, May 11, at New York’s Highline Ballroom, featuring Yo La Tengo, Janeane Garofalo, and many more. Tickets, including a $20 ticket for students, are available here. In 2013, Montandon contributed the essay “A Hollywood Ending,” about the death of his brother and its aftermath.
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.
A quick announcement: Gawker Media’s anonymous SecureDrop portal, which went down for a few days as we moved the server into our new office, is up and running again. If you have information or stories to share with any of Gawker Media’s sites—and want to remain as anonymous as possible—SecureDrop is for you. Detailed instructions for using the portal, which relies on the anonymous Tor network, can be found here.
On October 1, the computing giant Intel pulled its ads from Gamasutra, a trade website for game developers, over an essay called "'Gamers' don't have to be your audience. 'Gamers' are over" by a journalist named Leigh Alexander. Intel had been successfully harassed by a small, contemptible crusade called "Gamergate"—a campaign of dedicated anti-feminist internet trolls using an ill-informed mob of alienated and resentful video game-playing teenagers and young men to harass and intimidate female activists, journalists, and critics.
Hi. We're the staff of Gawker, and we're hanging out in the comments, answering questions.