On July 16, Gawker.com published a tabloid story about a male escort’s thwarted dalliance with a media executive. It did not go over well with readers, many of whom found it to be an irredeemably cruel intrusion on the private affairs of a not very public man. In response to the maelstrom of anger surrounding the story, Gawker Media’s managing partnership, which included its president of advertising, voted to pull the post, with founder and CEO Nick Denton arguing later that he’d been “ashamed” to have his name attached to it. The fallout was huge and rippling, inspiring two respected editors at the company, Max Read and Tommy Craggs, to resign in protest. Before the end of the following week, Gawker.com’s staff was offered a chance to walk away — with severance — so that a new, “20 percent nicer Gawker” could be built in its stead under then-acting executive editor John Cook.
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