Two top Gawker editors resigned Monday over management’s decision to take down and back away from a post that claimed the married CFO of a rival media company offered a male prostitute $2,500 for sex. Executive Editor Tommy Craggs and Editor in Chief Max Read said their main cause for concern was that decisions about the site’s editorial content were being made by the site’s business employees. In a staff meeting, the two outgoing editors explained that Gawker founder Nick Denton was trying to transform the site into explainer-based news site Vox. “This is Nick’s Reichstag fire,” Craggs said.
In an earlier memo to Gawker’s editorial employees, Denton wrote that he “was ashamed to have my name and Gawker’s associated with a story on the private life of a closeted gay man who some felt had done nothing to warrant the attention.” Denton also claimed that he only knew of one advertiser’s concerns when he made the decision to pull the post, but admitted that leaving it up “would have triggered advertising losses this week into the seven figures.” The story, he added, would have been “pure poison to our reputation as we go into the [Hulk] Hogan trial.”