Gawker Is Shutting Down

Gawker, the gossipy and snarky pop-culture site rebooted in mid-2021, is shutting down — for a second time.

In July 2021, Gawker relaunched under the ownership of Bustle Digital Group, whose founder and CEO Bryan Goldberg bought the website’s assets for $1.35 million in a bankruptcy auction in 2018. The original Gawker went dormant in 2016, after Gawker’s parent company went belly-up after losing a legal battle with wrestler Hulk Hogan.

BDG had hired Leah Finnegan, who worked at the old Gawker, as editor-in-chief of the new Gawker. On Wednesday, Finnegan said in a tweet that Gawker was folding.

“Well, after an incredible 1.5 years, BDG has decided it is done with Gawker 2.0,” she tweeted. “Can’t say enough about how proud I am of the site and all the brilliant people who worked to create it, and what a staggering shame this is. I had an absolute blast, and I love you.”

A BDG spokesperson confirmed that the company is suspending Gawker’s operations, but declined to provide further info.

Among the last stories published on Gawker were “Andrea Riseborough Guilty of Being a Good Actor With Friends Who Appreciate Her”; “Robert Zemeckis: I Love Using the Computer to Make Tom Hanks Look Insane”; “The Best and Worst Media TikTok Accounts”; and “Surprising No One, George Santos Is a Disney Adult”;

BDG had planned to relaunch in 2019 but Goldberg aborted the plans and laid off the staff he’d hired after logistical challenges and reported clashes among employees.

On its own site, BDG describes Gawker like this: “We are irreverent, iconoclastic, new, and strange, and we seek to raise questions about the structure of the world around us. We train our eye on worthy targets with skepticism and ire. Gawker abhors the sanctimonious, the indignant, the self-righteous, and the needlessly cruel. We try to have fun.”

In 2016, Nick Denton’s Gawker Media filed for bankruptcy and sell six of its websites to Univision Communications for $135 million — excluding — after it lost lawsuits funded by Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel. (Univision sold those sites, known as Gizmodo Media Group, along with The Onion to a private-equity backed G/O Media.) Thiel, co-founder of PayPal, had been angry about an old Gawker story that reported he was gay. The Thiel-backed litigation included Hulk Hogan’s invasion-of-privacy lawsuit against Gawker over a video the website posted showing the wrestler having sex with his ex-friend’s wife; a jury awarded Hogan $140 million in damages in the case.

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