Last night, Gawker published a story about a Condé Nast executive (who's married to a woman) allegedly arranging to meet up with a gay escort while on a trip to Chicago. When the escort found out who his client was, he attempted to blackmail him into helping with a housing-discrimination lawsuit he was embroiled in. The Gawker story, complete with text-message screenshots, provided anonymity to the escort but named the executive. In the end, the executive never even met up with the escort, nor did he agree to help with the discrimination lawsuit.
Criticism of Gawker's decision to publish the story was swift and mighty. Editors and writers at the site have continued to defend publishing it — "given the chance gawker will always report on married c-suite executives of major media companies fucking around on their wives," Gawker editor Max Read tweeted — while many other media types have taken to Twitter to voice their disapproval. [Update: Gawker has decided to remove the story, and has issued a statement explaining its decision here.]
"An appalling act of gay shaming disguised as a story -- thought we were way past this crap," tweeted Recode editor Kara Swisher. "I'm working realllly hard to find the news basis and public interest here and it's just not quite coming together?" tweeted Awl editor Choire Sicha.
Let me save you a click you'll regret: Gawker outed a married media exec for hiring a male escort. Some things don't need to be reported.— Kashmir Hill (@kashhill) July 17, 2015
I'm a fan of Gawker & several of its journalists, but that article is reprehensible beyond belief: it's deranged to publish that.— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) July 17, 2015
I can talk myself into a number of rationalizations for that bad Gawker post but the thing I can’t get past is that he’s not a public figure— Ben Dreyfuss (@bendreyfuss) July 17, 2015
I like and defend Gawker often, but that story is what happens when a mandate for hyper-aggression meets a total absence of news judgment.— Scott Tobias (@scott_tobias) July 17, 2015
so... How not-famous and gay do you have to be before gawker won't out you?— Elon Green (@elongreen) July 17, 2015
Gonna go back and read last week's series of Gawker articles about how Reddit is a moral monster with no conscience, just for kicks.— Daniel Radosh (@danielradosh) July 17, 2015
I think I just read a blog post that ruined a guy's life for no good reason and I don't feel great about it.— Kevin Roose (@kevinroose) July 17, 2015
How many cruel and unnecessary stories must Gawker publish before people realize this isn't a fun site to browse over their cereal?— Lena Dunham (@lenadunham) July 17, 2015
I miss @carr2n.— Anil Dash (@anildash) July 17, 2015