When we first met as young reporters on the Financial Times, [Denton] had already won a reputation for being a brilliant if somewhat unforgiving journalist – the subs dubbed him the “mad Magyar” when he came back from being a stringer in Hungary. He was possibly the last person anyone would have picked as the future head of a site which outs celebrities and publishes sex tapes involving a 62-year-old wrestler. And yet Denton always loved gossipy details, as with his obvious joy at discovering that Barings rogue trader Nick Leeson used superman as his computer password. “Gawker is a reflection of part of me,” he says now. “Gossip is the first draft of news.” Or, as he said when he first set up Gawker, journalists tell the best stories in the bar after work rather than in the paper. Friend and former FT colleague John Gapper compares him to Rupert Murdoch: “At heart he’s a great traditionalist. Like Murdoch, he loves a great story.”

Tall, with close-cropped grey hair, the multimillionaire founder of Gawker Mediamakes a daily appearance on the bustling Carlton terrace, where he stands apart from the advertising executives buying nebuchadnezzars of rosé. Both cynical outsider and consummate insider, it’s the perfect place for the boss of a company that started as a gossip blog and now runs several well-known spin-offs, from Gizmodo to feminist site Jezebel. “I’m straddling two worlds, as I always do,” he laughs. “Sometimes, I feel a bit stretched.”