Gawker Deserved The Death Penalty: The Media Aren’t Special

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By Louise Mensch | 11:41 am, June 12, 2016

Elizabeth Spiers was the founding editor of Gawker, and yesterday made an impassioned defense of it in our pages.

But I very fundamentally disagree. The media is at a low point in public perception, and for great reasons. Donald Trump acts like a racist, and all the press is concerned about is that he insulted the press.

It is pathetic behavior.

This is an election season where not one journalist has asked Donald Trump if he told the New York Times he would not build a wall, and was saying that to trick the voters. Instead, the commentators have allowed Trump to wriggle out of it by asking him an easy to deflect softball question – will you let the NYT release the tape?

The question is “Did you say it? Yes or no.”

Ah, you say, but Gawker has nothing to do with that broad journalistic weakness. It wasn’t about political journalism. It broke other, important, stories. Do we want to kill off places that break important stories?

And the answer to that is sure. The same first Amendment that protects freedom of speech grants private citizens the right to seek redress.

Hulk Hogan did just that.

Peter Thiel bankrolled him. So what?

Spiers uses a social justice warrior’s language of cry-baby excuses. She says that Gawker “made mistakes”.

No. It did not. Under the leadership of Nick Denton, Gawker aggressively and hypocritically outed gay men who had, and have, a perfect right to keep their sexuality private. It was a homophobic sewer.

It outed the sexuality of a man just because he was the brother of another man.

It outed  a cable news anchor for no reason other than that it disagreed with his network’s politics.

It outed Peter Thiel.

If you are  going to make revolting, sexuality-based attacks, because it’s your belief that all gay men must be public about their sexuality, it’s probably a good idea not to pick on a billionaire.

Gawker had a right to print that kind of junk – and Peter Thiel had every right to act on his anger about it.

Gawker was ordered by a judge to take down the Hulk Hogan sex tape. There was no public interest. They disobeyed and boasted about it. Why do that, then whine when the judge punishes you for your bad behavior?

Gawker’s behavior cannot be excused by good or important journalism. To give “media companies” a pass, as Elizabeth Spiers suggests, is to give them unconstitutional powers to ruin the lives of private citizens. In Spiers’ world, you could be fined or ridiculed, but not to the extent that you are brought down. So that’s a carte blanche to carry on destroying people for profit, without a public interest involved?

Gawker’s vile little fauxminist blog Jezebel, along with its cousin Vagenda, helped to co-ordinate the abuse of the Nobel prize-winning scientist Tim Hunt over a total lie (for example, sharing this from Gizmodo on their blog)– the idea that he suggested men and women should work in separate labs.

Hunt, a lifelong ally to, and mentor of, women in science, would later reveal to Jon Ronson that he had considered suicide over the hellish witch-hunt.

But Jezebel did nothing about their parent company’s brutal abuse of women. On the Hulk Hogan case, there was testimony about how bored Gawker staffers were  when discussing a video of a student being raped in a restroom stall – a video which the girl begged them not to show. ‘Blah, blah, blah,’ they replied to her pleading.

That’s not a mistake. It’s not journalism. It’s rape porn, scat porn, it’s the lowest form of misogyny, of literal hatred of women – showing a video of an unconscious girl being raped and drenched in urine.

Gawker and Jezebel richly deserve to die.

“I am the girl in it and it was stolen from me and put up without my permission,” the unidentified woman wrote on May 11, 2010.

Gawker’s complaint department forwarded the message to Daulerio, along with a note saying, “Blah, blah, blah,” Vogt said.

Daulerio then e-mailed the woman and told her to “not make a big deal out of this,”

We haven’t even got to Gamergate yet. Gawker’s writers, fauxminists that they are, mocked gamers and called them sexists while posting rape porn. They got Kotaku and their own parent company boycotted by advertisers.

To the misogyny, the homophobia, we can now add mockery of those on the autistic spectrum and those with Asperger’s.

Gawker’s endless cruelties were part and parcel of its DNA – not a “joke” or a “mistake”.

Journalists have got it into their heads that simply publishing stuff is a noble act and should put you in a protected category of public servants.

Hell no.

Do your goddamn jobs and stop whining. Peter Thiel is a Trump delegate? So what? Gawker’s attitude to Gamergate was exactly like Trump mocking the disabled New York Times reporter.

Sir Tim Hunt was, of course, fully exonerated, apologised to by Carlos Moedas on the European Commission, restored to representing the Royal Society on a working group, and became a British national figure and possibly the country’s most famous scientist.

He was honored across the world and received by the Emperor of Japan upon his wife, Professor Mary Collins, being appointed to a prestigious institute in Japan.

But when I look at Tim Hunt’s ascendancy in the future I shall also think of that raped girl, and of Jezebel’s fauxminism, and Gawker’s fall, and I will rejoice. If only we could get Vagenda too.

Gawker deserved to die – and we all deserve to rejoice at the fall of a cornerstone of the vain, vicious, narcissistic media culture of the bien-pensant left.


Gawker and Elizabeth Spiers are rather angry about this piece. I originally wrote ‘Vagenda’ when I meant ‘Jezebel’ – one bunch of fauxminist tossers are exactly the same as another – and Gawker have written to me whining about it.

They also complain that A. J. Daulerio eventually took down the video of the girl being raped. He did, however, broadcast in a GQ interview more humiliation for the girl, recounting her broken father’s description of her rape. I should have gone harder on this execrable example of corporate bullying in my original piece – I left out, for example, that as well as mocking the girl with ‘blah, blah, blah’ and telling her ‘not to make a big deal’ Gawker also had their lawyer write to the rape victim they brutalized to ‘scold her’, according to the Huffington Post, before removing the video of her rape.

I should have mentioned Daulerio’s deposition on publishing people’s sex lives without justification:


A.J. Daulerio, 41, was sitting ramrod straight in the Florida courtroom during the awkward moment when he was asked on video by Hogan’s lawyer, “Can you imagine a situation where a celebrity sex tape would not be newsworthy?”

Daulerio answered flatly, “If they were a child.”

“Under what age?” attorney Charles Harder asked.

“Four,” he said.

“No four-year-old sex tapes, OK,” Harder said.

A Gawker spokesman later insisted Daulerio was being flippant.

The Post reported Daulerio’s extraordinary attitude to private sex tapes:

The pseudo-journalist also admitted to paying $12,000 for photos of now-retired NFL player Brett Favre’s penis.

He said he didn’t consider the 2012 publication of Duchess Kate Middleton’s naked breasts an “invasion of privacy” because “she’s a public figure” and thought the size of Hogan’s penis was “newsworthy.”

Interestingly, the report cites Daulerio’s “success” in turning Deadspin from 700k uniques to 2.4 million p/m. As a footnote, Heat Street did 2.1m uniques in its first calendar month of operation.

Elizabeth Spiers on Twitter appears to object that I wrote a counterpoint to her own piece:

Ms. Spiers also seemed completely unaware of the Gamergate controversy and Gawker’s role in it:

I replied to Ms. Spiers with Gawker’s own piece on Gamergate:

Here’s that breathtaking piece. Gawker is always excusing itself with ‘joking’. ‘Bring back bullying,’ said Sam Biddle. But that wasn’t all he said:

bullied 3 Smash

After this, Adobe, Intel and others pulled their advertising from Gawker. Wonderful news and a sign that not everybody is in the fauxminists’ pocket.

And to the Gawker whiners, may I offer a hearty “Blah, blah, blah”?

Good on you Peter Thiel. No free passes for the bullying press classes who think that being on the internet makes them special snowflakes.


Elizabeth is very, very welcome to publish a reply to this piece, which Heat Street will happily promote, should she wish.