“This is the very, very worst version of the company,” Gawker Media founder and C.E.O. Nick Denton told his editorial staff during a contentious all-hands meeting on Monday afternoon. “This is not the company I built.”
Denton argued with Gawker’s editors over their decision to publish a post on Thursday night about Condé Nast C.F.O. David Geithner allegedly arranging to hire a male escort. It was irresponsible for the editors to publish the post without considering the harm that it could do to Geithner, he said.
“I don’t want some guy blowing his brains out and that being on our hands,” he said.
Denton also criticized his editors for failing to consider the impact that the story would have on its author, 26-year-old staff writer Jordan Sargent. Sargent, Denton said, is now “shell-shocked” after receiving so much criticism and abuse online in response to the post.
“It’s the responsibility of the company and it’s the responsibility of the editors to protect their writers from that shitstorm,” Denton said.
Denton said that he is not necessarily opposed to reporting that famous media figures—such as Ryan Seacrest and Apple C.E.O. Tim Cook—are gay, if their sexuality is an open secret in Manhattan media circles. But that’s not what happened in the case of the Geithner post, he said.
“I can’t think of a single instance of an outing that was as egregious and poorly handled as this one,” he said.