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Gawker Staff Issues Statement Criticizing ‘Business Side’ for Deleting Outing Post

Shortly after Gawker’s managing partnership voted 4-2 to remove a controversial article outing Condé Nast CFO David Geithner as having sought the escort services of a gay male porn actor, the website’s editorial staff released a statement expressing deep concern about the removal.

The Thursday evening article in question drew heated criticism from many prominent media voices and outlets, with many calling it “gay-shaming” and “repugnant.”

Despite editor-in-chief Max Read‘s steadfast defense of the article, the site’s founder and chief executive Nick Denton posted Friday afternoon that it had been removed; media watchers later learned that the site’s core business executives had voted to do so.

Seeing as Gawker’s editorial staff recently unionized, the shadowy vote by the website’s business leaders was met with an unified outcry posted to the site in the form of a statement:

Our union drive has expressed at every stage of the process that one of our core goals is to protect the editorial independence of Gawker Media sites from the influence of business-side concerns. Today’s unprecedented breach of the firewall, in which business executives deleted an editorial post over the objections of the entire executive editorial staff, demonstrated exactly why we seek greater protection. Our opinions on the post are not unanimous but we are united in objecting to editorial decisions being made by a majority of non-editorial managers. Disagreements about editorial judgment are matters to be resolved by editorial employees. We condemn the takedown in the strongest possible terms.

Deadspin editor Timothy Burke clarified below the statement that “A large percentage of the Gawker Media editorial staff disagreed with Gawker’s decision to publish the post to which this statement refers.” However, he emphasized, “Our opposition to the removal of the post lies solely in the process by which that decision was made, not in regard to the content of the post itself.”

Jezebel managing editor Erin Gloria Ryan also noted how many of her staff members were “rubbed the wrong way by the piece,” but, “despite the objectionable nature of a post, taking something down entirely after publishing — no matter how distasteful — is dishonest. It’s something we’ve reamed other sites for. And non-editorial employees should not be making editorial decisions that make us look like hypocrites.”

And Kotaku editor-in-chief Stephen Totilo echoed that sentiment, adding that “Pulling the post didn’t solve anything or hide it from existence. I would have preferred, if anything, to have seen that article remain online, but surrounded with frank and lively debate by readers and staff.”

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