Months after the entire staff of Deadspin walked away from the site after clashes with G/O Media, the company’s boss released a strongly worded letter slamming the company’s union, and saying management would be suspending negotiations with unionized employees due to their “unreasonable and unprecedented” demands. “In terms of modifications to the Gizmodo collective bargaining agreement’s editorial independence provisions, we believe we have reached a point where our discussions are no longer productive and as such, we will not engage in further discussions on this topic,” G/O media CEO Jim Spanfeller said in the Friday letter. “We have and will continue to respect the editorial integrity of our journalists at each of our platforms. The contractual provisions, as they currently exist, more than do this, with language that far exceeds anything that exists elsewhere in the digital media industry.”
He continued: “Your unreasonable and unprecedented demands are not in the best interests of the company and would inhibit our ability to successfully operate our websites.” In the letter, the company also stated it plans to relaunch Deadspin in Chicago and will make the sports-focused publication a part of The Onion’s corporate structure. G/O Media was formed earlier this year after Gizmodo Media Group, the former Gawker Media company that included sites including Deadspin, Gizmodo, and Jezebel, among others, was purchased from Univision by private equity firm Great Hill. As The Daily Beast previously reported, G/O’s new leadership has occasionally clashed with some of the company’s famously independent and outspoken editorial staff.
In response, the union said in a Friday statement that “no one in this bargaining unit is surprised that, once again, Jum Spanfeller has demonstrated a jaw-dropping lack of understanding of the business he acquired.” The union added they are “disappointed that upper management refuses to recognize the effects of their actions,” including the CEO’s “reckless, ill-informed behavior.”