Gawker removed a story this afternoon that had caused an uproar across social media. While the story has been removed, reader comments at the landing page still exist.
The news and gossip site, which is currently battling a $100 million lawsuit brought by Hulk Hogan, published a story alleging that Condé Nast CFO David Geithner attempted to solicit a male escort. After the escort discovered Geithner's political connections—he is the brother of former Treasury secretary Timothy Geithner—the escort attempted to blackmail him to help with a housing dispute, according to the Gawker report. After Geithner backed out, the escort went to Gawker, which granted him anonymity.
Online backlash came swiftly after the story published last night, even coming from Gawker's own senior writer Adam Weinstein.
I had no part in this. I would not have chosen to run it as is. http://t.co/kHOz1YA87S— Adam Weinstein (@AdamWeinstein) July 17, 2015
However, Max Read, the website's editor in chief, defended the story.
given the chance gawker will always report on married c-suite executives of major media companies fucking around on their wives— max read (@max_read) July 17, 2015
Soon after, others were not as kind to the site, including journalist Glenn Greenwald and Girls star Lena Dunham.
I'm a fan of Gawker & several of its journalists, but that article is reprehensible beyond belief: it's deranged to publish that.— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) July 17, 2015
How many cruel and unnecessary stories must Gawker publish before people realize this isn't a fun site to browse over their cereal?— Lena Dunham (@lenadunham) July 17, 2015
Everyone relax about Gawker. Hulk Hogan will own it soon and it will become the number one web destination for energy drinks and cuckolding.— Jake Fogelnest (@jakefogelnest) July 17, 2015
"I don't think it's journalistically justifiable," Poynter's Kelly McBride told Adweek. She explained her thoughts further in a post on Poynter's website.
By early Friday afternoon, the story was removed. A post on the site says the managing partnership voted, 6-1, to remove the post. Executive editor Tommy Craggs, who helped edit the post, was "the sole dissenter."
The managing partners who voted to remove it were Gawker founder Nick Denton, president and chief legal counsel Heather Dietrick; coo Scott Kidder; cto Tom Plunkett, chief strategy officer Erin Pettigrew and president of advertising and partnerships Andrew Gorenstein.
In a statement following the story's removal, Denton wrote, "It was an editorial call, a close call around which there were more internal disagreements than usual. And it is a decision I regret."