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Gawker tries to destroy private citizen, because it can

Gawker tries to destroy private citizen, because it can

Outing and Gay-Shaming

Last night, a writer at Gawker outed and gay-shamed someone at the behest of an unnamed (for his safety!) source. It was a story steeped in sex, fame, cash, and blackmail, which made it a perfect target for today’s salacious clickbait culture.

Today, Gawker’s managing partners voted 5-1 (with the lone dissenter being the editor who approved the story) to take the story down—but the damage has already been done.

Sorry, Nick Denton—you don’t get to take this one back.

(The link above is a web archive link; if you wish to read their hit job, you can click knowing that you won’t be giving Gawker any traffic.)

Long story short, Gawker allegedly received a series of text messages and photos showing a planned liaison between Condé Nast CFO David Geithner (his name sounds familiar because he’s Tim Geithner’s brother) and a gay porn star and escort. Gawker claims that the escort, whose story is told under the pseudonym “Ryan,” sent them the photos and text messages after Geithner (who is married to a woman) was unable to meet him as planned during a Chicago business trip. Major money was involved: $2500 plus airfare for “Ryan’s” plane ticket from Texas to Chicago. Geithner forwarded a chunk of the cash to “Ryan” in advance, and sent his photo and lodging plans to “Ryan” via text:


“Ryan” had an agenda

“Ryan” did some research, figured out who David was (and who his connections were,) and began to press him for help with a legal dispute in Texas. (He had been struggling with HUD over a discrimination complaint he filed against his landlord; he believed his apartment complex had discriminated against him because of his sexual orientation.) After Geithner backed out of the hookup, “Ryan” went to Gawker, whose editors decided to publish everything, because that’s what journalists do.

Brace yourselves…here comes the justification for all of this (screenshot from their article):

Screen Shot 2015-07-17 at 2.08.17 PM

The social justice angle is so on the nose, it’s almost as if Gawker carefully placed it there with a little dab of outrage glue. Here’s how I see it:

Gawker decided to forcibly out and gay-shame Tim Geithner’s brother because they had some sort of evidence to suggest that they had found another white, rich, successful married man who secretly prowls gay clubs in search of willing men in speedos.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that, though. Right, Gawker?

In the interest of placing a cherry atop their hate sundae, they closed the article with an attempt at making Geithner look like a lying dirtbag:

Screen Shot 2015-07-17 at 2.20.54 PM

The internet’s reaction was swift, and angry

Adam Weinstein, a senior writer with Gawker, attempted to distance himself from this travesty…

…but there was just one small problem with his tweet:

Even progressives are giving up on Gawker over this one:

Gawker has a history of shaming-for-clicks

This isn’t the first time Gawker has wrapped itself in schadenfreude for the sake of hate clicks; what they’ve done to Geithner and his family isn’t the result of habit, though. It’s standard operating procedure.

At the end of 2013, a comms professional named Justine Sacco sent the second most ill-advised tweet of all time. (Anthony Weiner is still the undisputed champ in that category.) Remember her?

Justine Sacco Africa Tweet

Of course you remember her. The entire world remembers her, because a Gawker writer named Sam Biddle made sure of it:

Gawker writer Sam Biddle claimed credit for starting it all, but has since noted regrets:

It’s possible that Sacco’s fate would have been different had an anonymous tip not led a writer named Sam Biddle to the offending tweet. Biddle was then the editor of Valleywag, Gawker Media’s tech-industry blog. He retweeted it to his 15,000 followers and eventually posted it on Valleywag, accompanied by the headline, “And Now, a Funny Holiday Joke From IAC’s P.R. Boss.”

In January 2014, I received an email from Biddle, explaining his reasoning. “The fact that she was a P.R. chief made it delicious,” he wrote. “It’s satisfying to be able to say, ‘O.K., let’s make a racist tweet by a senior IAC employee count this time.’ And it did. I’d do it again.” Biddle said he was surprised to see how quickly her life was upended, however. “I never wake up and hope I [get someone fired] that day — and certainly never hope to ruin anyone’s life.” Still, he ended his email by saying that he had a feeling she’d be “fine eventually, if not already.”

It was delicious. He was making it count. This is fun for them.

Know what else was delicious and fun? Slut-shaming Christine O’Donnell for having consensual sex with a man who then editorialized it on their front page. Jordan Sargent, the same author who penned the Geithner article, also had a problem with another Twitterer sharing a story about violence in Baltimore.

Gawker has made a name for itself by impaling its victims with their own humanity—the same wonderful, blundering, diverse humanity they claim to celebrate every time “progress” wins over convention. After SCOTUS handed down its ruling in this year’s gay marriage case, Gawker wanted the world to know that if you disagreed with their brand of progress, you could kindly fuck yourself.

Love is love, so show some respect, America.

Correction: love is love, except when it makes for really good social justice clickbait.

Is Gawker’s source actually a conspiracy loon? Maybe.

One small ray of light shines through all of this: Gawker’s source may be not just a media whore, but a total maniac. This is still developing, but even if the information coming out about “Ryan” is verified, Geithner is still left with nothing but the smoldering ruins of his own reputation.

Gawker defended this—with pride

Gawker exists, and will continue to exist, because there will never stop being a market for intellectual smut. There’s no undoing the damage done to Geithner’s personal life, marriage, and family relationships, and for that, Gawker will gladly take credit:

Gawker Editor-in-Chief Max Read responded: “given the chance gawker will always report on married c-suite executives of major media companies f**cking around on their wives.”

Natasha Vargas-Cooper, senior reporter for Gawker affiliate Jezebel, also defended its publication. “Stories don’t need an upside. Not everyone has to feel good about the truth. If it’s true, you publish.”

Gawker’s motto is “Today’s gossip is tomorrow’s news”.

They have the freedom to be pleased with themselves; thank God and the Founders that we have the freedom to nail them to the wall over it.

To David Geithner: I’m so, so sorry that this happened to you. I’ve written over 1000 words about what Gawker has done, and yet I am rendered speechless by the level of hatred exhibited by this author and his editors. Know that there are people out in the world praying for you, and your family.


Gawker’s editorial staff has come out in opposition to the takedown:

gawker ed staff complaint


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I dunno.

What happened to “class” and “self-respect”.

I’m gay. David doesn’t need to pay. He’s goodlooking enough to find whatever fun he wants. Pity he’s been closeted — what a lifelong affront to his wife and children this will be.

    Not A Member of Any Organized Political in reply to ZurichMike. | July 17, 2015 at 3:35 pm

    You can not assume that.

    Many hetero couples have “open” marriages just as many gay couples have.

    theduchessofkitty in reply to ZurichMike. | July 17, 2015 at 4:14 pm

    And if his wife files papers, she will get every damned thing she could ever ask for.

      Not A Member of Any Organized Political in reply to theduchessofkitty. | July 17, 2015 at 5:03 pm

      She might even share it with the male prostitute!

      Oh Horrors!

      faboutlaws in reply to theduchessofkitty. | July 17, 2015 at 5:22 pm

      Not anymore. That was true back in the 70s and early 80s, but almost every state has uncoupled bad behavior from property settlement. That’s a good thing. My grandfather was also a lawyer and he had hundreds of stories about following spouses and exposing their trysts. Then the innocent spouses would get the majority of the marital property and back then it was not unethical for the attorney to take a piece of the action. Don’t even think about trying that today.

        I don’t see why that’s a good thing.

        Marriage is a legal contract. You broke the contract, you pay.

        ecreegan in reply to faboutlaws. | July 18, 2015 at 9:53 am

        Why do you see it as a good thing for the cheating husband or the bored wife to get an equal share of the property to the spouse who was trying to have a good marriage?

    NC Mountain Girl in reply to ZurichMike. | July 17, 2015 at 5:14 pm

    How do you know it is an affront? There are wives who are perfectly OK with their husband’s lovers, same sex as well as other women. To some women being married to a good looking or successful man is far more important than why he chose to marry them in the first place. Such wives usually expect a bit more dis creation in this, but who knows. Lots of marriages survive a high profile affair.

People aren’t trashy because of who they are, they’re trashy because of how they behave.

Gawker bloggers are some of the trashiest people on the entire Internet. And that’s saying a lot.

    Not A Member of Any Organized Political in reply to Amy in FL. | July 17, 2015 at 4:03 pm

    Just to speculate….do you foresee any lawsuits coming up against Gawker?

      One of the actual lawyers here would probably be better placed to speculate on that than I would be. As a layperson, though, I’d think that Mr. G. would want to be wary of the Streisand Effect. As messy and as ugly as this is, there’s the potential not just that it could get even more messy and ugly, but be disseminated to an even wider audience.

        Not A Member of Any Organized Political in reply to Amy in FL. | July 17, 2015 at 5:20 pm

        Thanks, I hadn’t heard of that before.

        Streisand effect
        From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
        Changes must be reviewed before being displayed on this details
        The image of Streisand’s Malibu house that led to the naming of the effect

        The Streisand effect is the phenomenon whereby an attempt to hide, remove, or censor a piece of information has the unintended consequence of publicizing the information more widely, usually facilitated by the Internet.

Screw them, including Geitner himself, would be complaining if the victim of the outing and gay shaming was a conservative/republican. We’ve seen many examples of this. Until the time comes whan they would condemn the outing of a conservative, get me the popcorn..

    CloseTheFed in reply to BarDav. | July 17, 2015 at 5:31 pm

    I agree, except that I don’t know that David Geithner is among them.

    I will say, his wife is entitled to know of his activities outside the marriage, if any. But even she wouldn’t want it out like this. They could have called her, given her the info, then covered the divorce.

I would have never condoned such a thing in a publican I controlled. However, perversions aside, David Geitner wouldn’t be in this situation he’s in if he hadn’t attempted to cheat on his wife. Being gay doesn’t render you immune to betraying those you love. It was his sin that snared him, as it is for all of us.

A few things come to mind. First, liberals will eat their own. Second, why send a pic and actually use your real first name? Thirdly, if gawker wants out every man for wanting to commit adultery (with a man or woman) there would be endless stories. Fourth, if Mr. Geitner is gay or bisexual or curious is really non of our business especially since he is not (as far as we know) saying anti gay things. Fifth, if “Ryan” is really having HUD problems, does he think that running to gawker is going to make the situation better for him? Sixth, I am still not sure what was the end game for gawker in all of this. Seventh, this shows the ugly appetite of certain segments within the virulent gay rights movement who don’t give a damn about people but would rather bulldoze people into submission at all costs. Number eight, when did gawker become the judge, jury, and executioner of someone’s reputation because they may be cheating on their wife? Finally and lastly, how does this publicity effect the family of Mr. Geitner?

    Not A Member of Any Organized Political in reply to natdj. | July 17, 2015 at 5:18 pm

    RE: “Sixth, I am still not sure what was the end game for gawker in all of this.”

    I think Amy gave evidence of Gawker’s pattern of outrageous reporting didn’t she? She implies they are trying to increase their ad revenue by increasing their clicks. Can this be considered as fraudulent as the paper periodicals that have resorted to giving out a significant percentage of their issues free of charge. All to the end of being able to charge advertisers more – because supposedly they are delivering more eyes? The broadcast television media too has been hyping program flops in an attempt to draw more viewers (see O Network).

    So Gawker is employing tactics for the same ends similar to Facebook’s “Like Farms” located in 3rd World Countries?
    “How low-paid workers at ‘click farms’ create appearance of online popularity”
    “This blogger paid Facebook to promote his page. He got 80,000 bogus Likes instead.”
    “The Hidden World of Facebook “Like Farms” | MIT
    “Inside a counterfeit Facebook farm – The Week”

Neither normalization nor tolerance. Also, what ever happened to the “modern family” and open relationships?

Progressive liberals want to have their cake and eat it, too. I would classify them as bigots, but that may not be strictly true. Does pro-choice or selective principles excuse their liberal (i.e. high, even catastrophic variance) orientations?

It’s a real head-shaker to hear all the condemnation of this story. It’s Gawker itself, and all the other similar sites, that is the problem, the rent in our cultural fabric.

Back in the day, we still had the sleazy publishers, and they sold millions of copies in supermarket checkout lines. But decent people didn’t pay much attention to their trashy headlines beyond mild amusement, forgotten when the line moved.

And when Carol Burnett and others began winning sizable libel awards, they cleaned up their acts at least somewhat.

– –

Unfortunately, on today’s interweb it doesn’t help me to avoid such places, because others will spread the word like wildfire.

Midwest Rhino | July 17, 2015 at 5:41 pm

sheesh … hard for me to feel sorry for these characters … and Tim Geithner is part of the globalist cabal (imo) that is leading us to financial ruin. Shades of Client #9, or thousands of lewd ones like them that are behind the hedge funds and Bernie Madoff corrupt world of “too big to fail or jail”.

I’m all for outing anyone willing to bypass the legal system to get an arranged outcome for a price. Especially if that price paid would seem to include prostitution, at least ethically, if paying for an “escort” is a legal bypass. Maybe Geithner was just trying out an unfulfilled fantasy, and his wife already knew. But he seemed pretty comfortable making all the arrangements, like it wasn’t his first rodeo, and he wanted it hidden.

I hear of the “Gaystapo” thing, but do they want to out all lgbt, or to hold the closeted hostage for favors? Or both? I’m still wondering where (allegedly gay) Rep. “Downtown Abbey” Schock went off the rails. He’s spending a million of his campaign fund on lawyers, no escorts included, unless he is escorted to jail.

The creeps at Gawker are collectively spitting the dummy on Facebook… (screengrab for those who don’t use FB … I’m not giving gawker-dot-com any links)

They claim that this is why they need a union – so that they can viciously “out” gays, based on “evidence” provided by opportunistic crackpot blackmailers, without any pesky editorial interference, I guess.

    Not A Member of Any Organized Political in reply to Amy in FL. | July 17, 2015 at 7:06 pm

    Hmmmmm…..This means they are trying to “dis-own” their actions which are completely documented? Do they think we are living in Orwell’s book 1984?

    Ragspierre in reply to Amy in FL. | July 17, 2015 at 8:42 pm

    David Burge @iowahawkblog

    Breaking: Everyone at Gawker updating their résumés
    Breaking: None of the updated résumés contain the word ‘Gawker’
    10:39 AM – 17 Jul 2015

    207 207 Retweets

So why re-publicize this and also give Gawker more links?

    Not A Member of Any Organized Political in reply to janitor. | July 17, 2015 at 7:07 pm

    The links don’t go to Goober…er….Gawker.
    They can go somewhere else.

MaggotAtBroadAndWall | July 17, 2015 at 7:41 pm

I click on Legal Insurrection a couple of times a day, and I’ve clicked on Gawker a couple of times in my entire life.

Those are my priorities.

Henry Hawkins | July 17, 2015 at 8:10 pm

Castigating Gawker for this story is like castigating a month old baby for shitting its diapers. That’s what they do.

Not A Member of Any Organized Political | July 17, 2015 at 8:28 pm

And it’s still just as stinky!