Gawker Media editor-in-chief Max Read and executive editor Tommy Craggs resigned Monday in protest of the managing partners’ decision to remove a piece accusing former Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner’s brother David of soliciting a male prostitute. “On Friday, I told my fellow managing partners… I would have to resign if they voted to remove a story I’d edited and approved,” Craggs told Gawker staff in an internal memo. The managing partners did indeed put it to a vote, deciding 4-2 to remove the post. “This was not an easy decision,” Read continued. “I hope the partnership group recognizes the degree to which it has betrayed the trust of editorial, and takes steps to materially reinforce its independence.” The editors’ decision comes after Gawker’s staffers issued a statement on Friday slamming the “business side” for deleting a post over the objections of the entire editorial staff.
Gawker founder Nick Denton has published a lengthy reaction. It begins:
The Managing Partnership as a whole is responsible for the Company’s management and direction, but they do not and should not make editorial decisions. Let me be clear. This was a decision I made as Founder and Publisher — and guardian of the company mission — and the majority supported me in that decision. This is the company I built. I 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. We believe we were within our legal right to publish, but it defied the 2015 editorial mandate to do stories that inspire pride, and made impossible the jobs of those most committed to defending such journalism. I’m sorry also that Jordan Sargent, reporting this story impeccably despite a personal drama, was exposed to such traumatizing hatred online, just for doing his job. And I’m sorry that other editors and writers are now in such an impossible position: objecting to the removal of a story that many of them found objectionable.