Gawker alumni are crowdfunding to outbid Peter Thiel for control of Gawker's assets


#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2017/12/13/save-gawker.html


#2

Nah. Just can’t. When a dear friend of mine who was a camgirl had an emotional nosedive due to bad meds and OD’d on-camera, Gawker mocked her mercilessly and spread pictures of her passed out in her bathroom worldwide for their amusement. Thiel’s a heel; they were quite often no better.


#3

It sure sounds like they don’t particularly need $600K, expect maybe to cheese off Mr. Thiel, which might not be such a bad goal.


#4

Gawker is the worst.


#5

Sorry, but they deserve each other, badly.


#6

I kind of agree with the hivemind here. Gawker was another internet tabloid clickbait-hole that flaunted any vestiges of journalistic integrity.

I don’t think these people are really worried about journalistic integrity, it’s just using that as a front to try and sucker people into giving them money so they can buy and operate a previously-successful business, enriching themselves in the process.

In other news, who wants to crowdfund my bar tab later?


#7

I’m in for a few bucks, just to help thwart that neofeudalist techbro vampire. Gawker was far from perfect, but if nothing else it was a part of the core liberal democratic institution known as a free press.

[ETA: before I give them anything I want know who these alumni are. If one of them is AJ Daulerio they don’t get one red cent from me.]


#8

Hmmm, I wonder if someone could just divert this to rip the Gothamist holdings from Joe Rickett’s hands instead, and just let Gawker die for good.


#9

Supporting the website that birthed the trash fire that is Kinja, that dog won’t hunt monsieur.


#10

No.


#11

Since correcting Cory’s headlines is a bit of a fad, isn’t the story here really:

Gawker alumni are crowdfunding to force Peter Thiel to pay more than $500k for control of Gawker’s assets?

Maybe the auction doesn’t work this way, but if they raise $500k, can’t he just pay $600k? I don’t even know if that makes much of a difference to him. I honestly think that the total free cash available to everyone with any interest in this cause is probably less than the total free cash available to Thiel.

I’d like to know what the Gawker alumni are planning to do with the money they raise in the event they are outbid. It’s possible a better headline might be:

Gawker alumni would like your money.


#12

I hate Gawker almost as much as Thiel.


#13

$500,000 is a rounding error for Thiel, like the kind of thing you might pencil in to balance your checkbook. If he wants the archive, he can outbid these guys, I am pretty sure.


#14

Glad I’m not alone in being unable to think of anything positive that Gawker accomplished. I have a lot of problems with Thiel funding that lawsuit, but Nick Denton getting screwed and Gawker going down was the silver lining. I’m certainly not going to throw money at this.


#15

Yeah, it works differently. They don’t just consider the bid, they consider who it would be best for it to go to. So, a higher bid from someone aiming to, say, shut the whole thing down, as well as take control of a bunch of outstanding possible suits or appeals against them that could be pursued by people who bought it later, might lose to a lower bid from another party who intends to keep an archive up, and relaunch the site as a non-profit journalistic enterprise in the style of ProPublica.

But these are just examples, you understand, the fact that it lines up exactly with what’s happening now is just a coincidence I assure you.

Now, for all the folks talking about how they can’t remember anything positive Gawker ever did:

They broke Rob Ford being a corrupt, crack-smoking piece of shit. Boingboing relied extensively on their reporting at the time. They broke Mike Allen from politico allowing Sources to write items about themselves, a massive breach of journalistic ethics. They caught Buzzfeed plagiarizing from Yahoo answers. They burned Joe Dolce of STAR, for trying to pressure other outlets to take down unflattering stories. Their extensive essays and coverage of the Zimmerman trial was brutal, honest, raw, and frankly brilliant. They called out Straight Outta Compton for not just excluding, but straight up smoothing over and erasing Dr Dre’s history of abusing women.

Remember how Bill Cosby raped a bunch of women? They broke that story in 2014. Remember how Kevin Spacey turned out to be an aggressive sexual predator? They broke that story in 2015. Remember Louie CK getting caught for his habit of forcing women to watch him wank? They broke that first with a blind item in 2012, and then with a name-and-shame exploratory piece in 2015. Remember Harvey Weinstien’s massive sexual misconduct scandal? They broke that in 2015, when nobody else had the fucking gravel for it. Remember photographer Terry Richardson, who regularly had his work in VICE, Rolling Stone, GQ, Vogue, Vanity Fair, Harper’s Bazaar, who turned out to be a serial sexual predator and alleged rapist? Gawker broke than in 2014. Remember famous hollywood director and sexual predator James Toback? Gawker, 2008 AND 2015. Bill O’Rilley’s Domestic abuse? Gawker, 2015. Roger Ailes illegal surveillance and bizarre mistreatment of employees? Gawker, 2011.

I could go on, but I think I’ve made my point - if you can’t remember a single positive thing that Gawker accomplished, then I don’t think the problem is with them.

I have mixed feelings about Gawker. They were far from perfect, they did a lot of harm, along with a lot of good. They were never an outlet that was middling, they were either great or awful, no middle ground.

But, as a person and a media professional, I’ve no mixed feelings about this - I’m absolutely in support, and I’ve already backed it.

Especially considering the various problems that case has caused - the R.Kelly Sex Cult story and the Weinstein story both got kicked around for months before they found outlets brave enough to publish them, for example - and the fact that Right-wing garbage vampire Peter Thiel is one of the competing bids, and as best we can tell, is only trying to buy it so that he can control and eliminate the possibility of the remaining claims against him being held by the Gawker estate from being pursued.

Plus, if they were around right now, they’d be quadrupling down on Trump’s sexual assault allegations, Roy Moore, and a lot of the others. You can say a lot of things about them, but even among their haters, you’ll hardly find someone disagreeing that there was no story too salacious for them, and they had no qualms going after tiny stories as well as the big ones.

I mean, really, you have a choice. Support a racist Right-wing Garbage Vampire suppressing the press for reporting on his hedge fund crashing and burning(What, you believe that shit, it’s because they “Outed” him? You’ve been suckered - he had veto, signed off on that piece, and bragged about it for years, it was only when he needed an excuse to get the left onside that he started running that PR bullshit line), using his money to basically circumvent freedom of the press and the proper operation of the legal system(ie, Anti-SLAPP laws), and defending a famous racist who perjured himself in court to pretend he didn’t know about all the racist shit he was saying on the tape(that he desperately wanted to cover up to save what was left of his career - which happily, didn’t work), and had already lost the same damned case with minor variations no less than six times previous until he got lucky.

Or, you could support a press outlet known for unapologetic adversarial journalism, trying to make a fresh start away from their checkered past, by becoming a journalistic non-profit independent of big corporations - you know, the people y’all keep saying are destroying the free press?

No judgement on the choice you made last time, And hey, no judgement if you make the same mistake twice. But let’s be honest, would you want to get suckered by the same far-right fuckheads twice over? Think of what that’ll do for you - it’s nothing positive.

Plus, think of how much it would piss off the nasty little alt-right shits, the gators, the nazis, the trumpkins, the main-line republicans benefiting from Trump’s administration - they all hated Gawker, because Gawker never gave shitty people the deference and gentle treatment some other outlets afford them(looking at you, NYT with your polite profiles of Nazis, and then doubling down defending it).
They’re absolutely bricking it with the idea Gawker might come back, because Gawker was never afraid of them, and didn’t give a shit for treating them nicely for the sake of propriety.


#16

I live near Sacramento, CA. If it weren’t for Gawker, child-molester and kleptocrat Kevin Johnson would still be mayor of Sacramento. They broke the stories that forced the rest of the media to pay attention, which forced Johnson to leave rather than run for re-election.


#17

Hey, that’s an important one. I’m sorry, I should have put that on the list - I’ve worked local before, and still do the occasional column or article for the locals at a cut price, I shoiuld know that it was a little unfair of me to just focus on the big news. Local news is just as, if not often more important to folk than big, national news - after all, Harvey Weinstien going down is a headline, and a fucking good thing, but it’s your local mayor going down that will have a direct impact on a lot of people’s lives.

And Dave McKenna did a lot of great reporting there, it was a fantastic series. And thank you for reminding me.


#18

Thiel is the worst. Gawker is a distant second. It’s a pity so many good sites were under the Gawker media umbrella.


#19

I forgot about their role in the Rob Ford tapes. Still really don’t like them, but can’t deny they did Toronto a favour there.


#20

I thought this was probably the case since otherwise the whole thing didn’t make sense. The kickstarter doesn’t say exactly what they’ll do with the money if they don’t win the auction, but they do acknowledge that possibility and say they have another plan. I’d want details on that plan, but the flip side of that is that I realize it might not be wise for them to share details of a backup plan right now.

I should probably be less cynical about this, I do actually believe that the people doing it are motivated by a desire to preserve the archive of gawker articles and to move forward with independent journalism. I don’t think it’s just a crass scam.