Gawker’s managing partnership has voted 5 - 1 to remove an article that accused a married Condé Nast executive of attempting to solicit sex from a gay porn star. The decision comes amid a barrage of criticism from across the political spectrum.
We’re removing our story about the CFO of Condé Nast. http://t.co/UOV9q8FUlI— Gawker (@Gawker) July 17, 2015
“I can’t defend yesterday’s story as I can our coverage of Bill O’Reilly, Hillary Clinton or Hulk Hogan,” Gawker C.E.O. Nick Denton said in a statement. “I believe [the backlash] reflects a growing recognition that we all have secrets, and they are not all equally worthy of exposure.”
Denton’s comments are a dramatic departure from those of Gawker’s editor-in-chief Max Read, who had previously defended the story 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
The article in question was written by Jordan Sargent, and claimed the married Condé Nast executive (who is also related to a former high-ranking government official) solicited the porn star’s services, but cancelled the encounter after the escort tried to enlist his help with a housing dispute. However, the executive has denied the charges, claiming the incident is nothing more than a “shakedown.”
The fact that the accused is not a known public figure led to a swift backlash, with some accusing Gawker of “gay shaming.” Others have accused the site of being complicit in an attempt to blackmail the executive.
Many journalists also voiced their disgust with the piece, including Glenn Greenwald, who called Read’s defense of the article “utterly laughable,” and Gawker’s own Adam Weinstein.
I had no part in this. I would not have chosen to run it as is. http://t.co/kHOz1YA87S— Adam Weinstein (@AdamWeinstein) July 17, 2015
For the record, I read Gawker every morning and often use it as a source for blog posts.