They say all good things end, but must they end so soon? Gawker.com started in 2002 as as a snarky New York focused blog and grew into Gawker Media – an online powerhouse with nearly 30 sub sites and sister sites including the female oriented Jezebel and the tech oriented Gizmodo. That is, until an evil billionaire used his money and power to have Gawker shutdown.
If you aren’t aware, Gawker was involved in a high profile lawsuit after it posted 2 minutes of a 30 minute sex tape of former celebrity Hulk Hogan (We only bold significant names or actual celebrities). At the time, Hogan sued Gawker for copyright infringement in federal court and lost. In fact, the judge stated that Gakwer posting the video footage fell under the legal protection of “fair use”. Hulk “Terry Gene Bollea” Hogan then sued Gawker in state court and won.
The court case was a laughable mess. Bollea included owner Nick Denton and journalists in the suit. The judge allowed Bollea to wear his signature bandana on his head – in court – because, why not? The man whose wife Bollea had sex with who secretly filmed the encounter was also sued by Bollea, but settled out of court. Criminal charges were never filed against him – despite the fact that secretly recording someone having sex is against the law in Florida where this all took place. Bollea talked about the encounter multiple times including Howard Stern’s show. It came out that Terry Gene Bollea aka Hulk Hogan was a certified “n word” loving racist. And then, the jury awarded Bollea $115 million + $25 million in punitive damages. Yes, $140 million was awarded to a former celebrity who hadn’t been a somebody in nearly two decades for a media website doing a story on a former media figure.
In the interim, it was revealed that silicon valley billionaire turned evil comic book villain Peter Thiel had been bankrolling the lawsuit (among others against Gawker) for revenge on outing him nearly a decade earlier. It wasn’t that he was in the closet, but apparently had been keeping it from certain associates for fear it would hamper some of his business ventures.
PopCultureWhore.com would probably not exist if Gawker.com hadn’t led the way. Its snarky, no holds barred style was refreshing. They didn’t care about hurting a celebrity or public figures feelings – which of course paved the way for us to do the same. Their only focus was reporting the news on a trail that they blazed. Journalists? Not really and Gawker admits that. Gawker was like the news that you WANTED to read without the pretense of people who went to J-School. It’d be like if you got Al Roker on Molly and drunk af and asked him what happened in the world today.
Revenge Queen Peter Thiel shouldn’t be able to shudder a company because he doesn’t like what they’re saying. He shouldn’t be able to silence a voice because he doesn’t like the sound. There was no slander and no libel. Forcing a Gawker shutdown has only rekindled interest in the entire ordeal and led to a million articles like this very one, which has led a million bloggers like this one here writing a million articles about the very thing you were trying to coverup.
Of course, the legal decision will be overturned, but it won’t matter by then. Gawker filed for bankruptcy and was sold to Univision where they will keep many of the sister sites but shutdown Gakwer. Also of course, Peter Thiel probably thinks he’s won. He hasn’t. In silencing Gakwer he’s made all of us louder.
The internet won’t be the same without you Gawker. We love you.