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The Media Businesses The Internet

'The Gawker Foundation' is Crowdfunding a Bid To Re-Launch Gawker.com (savegawker.com) 91

"Gawker may soon return from the dead," reports TechCrunch. While Univision acquired most of Gawker Media's sites last year (and renamed them as the Gizmodo Media Group), the deal didn't include Gawker itself. In fact, BuzzFeed reported last month that a bankruptcy administrator has not been able to find a buyer for the Gawker site, and that lawyers for Peter Thiel (the billionaire venture capitalist who helped fund the lawsuit that led to Gawker's bankruptcy) were arguing that he'd been unfairly excluded from the process. Now a group of former Gawker employees calling themselves the Gawker Foundation has launched a Kickstarter campaign to buy the old domain and relaunch with a nonprofit, membership-funded model.
"The truth is often inconvenient, and Gawker's work isn't done," explains a mirror of their campaign site at SaveGawker.com. "We want to dig deeper." $10 pledges get you a laptop sticker, $250 pledges earn you an invite to their glorious re-launch party, and to solicit $10,000 pledges they're even asking wealthy backers to "Give us half of one bitcoin."

"By setting ourselves up as an ownerless, advertiser-less, non-profit media organization, the editorial team will be able to do what they do best. More than a dozen Gawker Media alumni are involved in this project..."
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'The Gawker Foundation' is Crowdfunding a Bid To Re-Launch Gawker.com

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  • by ArchieBunker ( 132337 ) on Saturday December 16, 2017 @12:36PM (#55751479) Homepage

    Show sex tapes of Hulk Hogan? Just what the world wants to see.

    • by sycodon ( 149926 ) on Saturday December 16, 2017 @12:39PM (#55751495)

      "By setting ourselves up as an ownerless, advertiser-less, non-profit media organization, the editorial team will be able to do what they do best.

      Does that mean the editors can be sued individually?

      It would be a special kind of Karma to turn that pond scum into homeless people.

      • Maybe Hogan can go after the Kickstarter funds. Dunno about the US but in the UK shutting down one business and starting up another under the same name but decrying the debts would be seen as very sharp practice, the sort of thing you'd expect from Lord Oswald Jacbootéd-Thugge.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

        On July 29, 2016, in a meeting with the courts, Denton was chastised by the courts, who stated that Denton's valuation of the company had been inflated by him (Denton) to give the impression that the company was worth more than it actually was. In the court records, the judge stated that Denton had informed the court that the value of the stock he himself held was valued at eighty-one million dollars. This valuation was used to give the court and Hogan that the offer of turning over Denton's stock would cover the majority of the money owed by the company. However, the stocks were found to be valued at thirty million, and not the cited eighty-one million. In the wake of this revelation, the court ordered that Denton had not acted in good faith, and issued an order stating that Hogan could begin seizing assets from Gawker.

    • around here, but believe it or not Gawker did a lot of real journalism. What got them in trouble wasn't the sex tape or outing Thiel, it was Exposés on Thiel's various shady business deals. They were a muck raker, so yeah, lots and lots of mean spirited tabloid journalism. But that paid the bills on the other side of muck raking: exposing the wrong doings of wealthy and powerful people.

      That said, people _hate_ Gawker. I can't see this working out. Funny though that a site that popular and profitabl
      • by phayes ( 202222 ) on Saturday December 16, 2017 @01:05PM (#55751581) Homepage

        No. Gawker did very little real journalism & only did the little they did so they could try and hide behind it.

        Serious journalism does not need to be associated with muckraking excrement, in fact the opposite is true.

        • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

          People who know what serious journalism is would never write a sentence like "Serious journalism does not need to be associated with muckraking excrement"; you can reword it as "Serious journalism does not need to be associated with investigative shit" and it'll literally mean the exact same thing.

          Gawker's specialty was muckraking - investigating the powerful and revealing the stuff they didn't want you to know. On rare occasions, that was abusive, such as the infamous Hogan tape. In most cases, it was r

          • Gawker's specialty was muckraking - investigating the powerful and revealing the stuff they didn't want you to know. On rare occasions, that was abusive, such as the infamous Hogan tape. In most cases, it was relatively neutral. In some key cases, they exposed important stories nobody else did because they weren't afraid to piss off the wrong people.

            What important stories did Gawker expose? Everything they did seems to be spiteful gossip that didn't have any public interest defence - outing Peter Thiel as gay for example, or defying a judge to keep Hogan's sex tape up. Which is what sunk them eventually.

            Even by the extremely degraded standards of US media, they were awful. And even in the US it turns out that they were actually awful enough to lose a lawsuit that bankrupted them.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

          • Gawker's specialty was muckraking - investigating the powerful and revealing the stuff they didn't want you to know.

            There are a lot of things that wealthy and powerful people don't want us to know. But you know what? When it comes to Hulk Hogan's sex life -- or Peter Thiel's for that matter -- I'm OK with that.

            Good journalists have always understood the difference between investigative reporting and gratuitous shitstirring. Clickbait farmers like Gawker generally don't.

            • by phayes ( 202222 ) on Saturday December 16, 2017 @09:00PM (#55753263) Homepage

              Snort, Gawker didn't target "the powerful", they targeted those in the public eye to sell their trash to the easily titillated.

              Of course those with sufficiently dysfunctional sex lives that they are titillated by peeking into the sex lives of others are OK with Gawker doing that.

            • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

              Good journalists have always understood the difference between investigative reporting and gratuitous shitstirring. Clickbait farmers like Gawker generally don't.

              The test is generally "in the public interest".

              A journalist who reports on how $SOME_RICH_GUY paid $30M in order to get his building approved, is in the public interest - it exposes corruption in government. A story about $SOME_RICH_GUY's sex life, or who they're seeing as a girlfriend? Not generally in the public interest unless the choice affects

          • This is just historical revisionism to an unbelievable degree... The supposed revealing of Thiel's "shady business dealings" was the article that outed him as gay even thou he had previously asked Gawker not to be outed due to working with investors from countries with a rather dim view of gay people.
          • by phayes ( 202222 )

            People who consider Gawker to be serious journalism clearly have no standing to make judgments on what serious journalism is/isn't.

            Gawkers testament is written in the percentage of muckraking stories on people in the public eye versus non-sexual titillation exposés on the really powerful: 99.99999% to 0.000001%. But then you visibly consider publishing HH's sex tape as "exposing" the RICH AND POWERFUL.

          • How can Gawker have any credibility? They claimed looking at leaked nudes of Jennifer Lawrence equated to sexual assault. Meanwhile they were ignoring court orders to take down the Hogan sex tape. Both are famous celebrities so what is the difference?

        • by Anonymous Coward

          So kind of you to take time out of your busy day to come here and tell us what is and is not "serious journalism".

        • Serious journalism does not need to be associated with muckraking excrement, in fact the opposite is true.

          Name a SERIOUS JOURNALISM enterprise that hasn't done something stupid. All of them are made up of people who make mistakes. Sometimes really big ones.

          The main differences between gawker and (insert SERIOUS JOURNALISM here) are primarily two things. One is SERIOUS JOURNALISM tends to have a longer pedigree (read: they've been around longer) and two: they had deeper pockets that allowed them to recover from their mistakes.

          How many times over the past few years have we seen that some blogger can break o

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        What got them in trouble wasn't the sex tape or outing Thiel, it was Exposés on Thiel's various shady business deals.

        No, it was the sex tape, and then refusing a court order to remove the sex tape. Please stop trying to associate that dumpster fire of a site with actual journalism; you're not going to help the former, only hurt the latter.

      • People here complain about finding a great job, but being required to sign a non-compete to get it. The principled thing to do is to walk away and find another job, maybe not as cushy, but one that doesn't require you to compromise your principles. It's not always the easiest choice to make, but that's what makes it a principled decision. If upholding your principles always coincided with making the easy choice, we'd all be eating chocolate for dinner, being encouraged to waste time on slashdot at work,
        • Gawker thought they were taking part in what is a pretty standard farce in the entertainment industry: Release info that portrays a star in bad light, get sued, use the lawsuit for publicity and then pay the star several million dollars in settlement. It's usually an 'everybody wins' scenario. The star gets a bunch of publicity (no such thing as bad) the tabloid gets a lot of sales/traffic and the fans get some juicy dirt to keep them interested. It's a major part of the entertainment industry that is large
      • by Anonymous Coward

        Gawker is a shit rag. I'm glad they got taken down. If they weren't shit heels there wouldn't be a case against them.

      • I was a big fan of their first big hit, Wonkette, when it was still run by Ana Marie Cox.

        But it certainly wasn't journalism. The vast majority of what they did was blogs. Just look at the name, "gawker." What does that mean, literally? That's what they were. To the extent that they were talking about current events they were like an editorial page. But the editorial page isn't journalism.

        What interests me about this is that their non-profit doesn't seem to be for a legit purpose; they're going to end up hav

      • by Anonymous Coward

        They were irresponsible asshats that nearly got Thiel killed by outing him while on a business trip to Saudi Arabia.

        Revealing business dealings that might be questionable is one thing, but people can and do still get murdered over their sexual orientation in many parts of the world.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Many of the sexual assault stories now coming to light were actually published years ago in Gawker.

      Gawker was, in some ways, shocking to Americans but not to the rest of the world. It's similar in some ways to British newspapers like The Mirror was in, say, the 1980s. Garish, populist, and often exposing things that shouldn't.... but... one of the few that also exposed stuff happening that absolutely needed an outlet, that "respectable" newspapers wouldn't because they're corrupt.

      And by corrupt, I don'

      • by Anonymous Coward

        This isn't fair to the National Enquirer, it actually did sorta-close-to real journalism every once in a while (like exposing John Edwards' affair) - unlike Gawker.

      • Maybe Gawker exposed some serious things, but their signal to noise ratio was so poor, the value of it in practice was probably around zero. They managed to be the gold standard of crappy journalism in multiple fields. They might have been spared a few flaws, but a Gawker site posting something generally removed credibility from the claim.
  • by aevan ( 903814 ) on Saturday December 16, 2017 @12:36PM (#55751485)
    Thank god. I was wondering how I'd get my 4-year-old sex-tape fix.

    Thanks Nick!
  • by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Saturday December 16, 2017 @12:40PM (#55751501)

    So if they restart, and get sued again are all of the Kickstarter backers liable...

    Let sleeping dogs lie.

    • Wow.

      Uhm. The answer is "no," but just wow.

      Why would you even comment about the legal angles, when you don't even have "baby knowledge" of the subject? Bring wrong on the internet doesn't surprise me, but this is just so stupid and silly without purpose.

      • I could say the same thing.

        The short answer is "we don't know". On the one hand, Kickstarter has set up a pretty decent barrier of isolation between backers and creators, mostly by establishing that backing a project does not come with any legal obligation for return. On the other hand, the laws against funding a criminal enterprise are some of the strongest, so it wouldn't surprise me to see a lawsuit go after backers as well. There is some legal basis for such things, mostly lying in money-laundering law

        • "legal theories haven't been tested" is code for "a bunch of bullshit that they wouldn't even let into the courtroom."

          • That's certainly a pithy statement, but that logical leap you took cleared right over the contents of a basic civics course. It makes you look stupid and silly without purpose.

            • I dare you to really do it, take that civics course you read about and find out what happens if you try to sue somebody you don't have a relationship with, over the theory that they're part of a criminal enterprise, when no crime has been reported and you don't have any evidence of one. Will courts let you come in and argue that? Or do you get fined for trying? The fact is, you don't have a relationship with the people donating the money, you'd have to sue kickstarter and then ask the court's permission to

              • The question was whether the backers could be held liable. If you wish to argue that the act of backing a Kickstarter campaign cannot possibly be illegal, that's a different matter entirely.

                ...sue somebody you don't have a relationship with...

                That's your core assumption, but it's the one that's not necessarily true.

                The relationship is that the backers funded the project. Depending on the circumstances, that could in itself be enough for liability. Yes, the plaintiff would have to show that the backers knowingly committed a criminal act, but I'm not going to

                • The question was whether the backers could be held liable. If you wish to argue that the act of backing a Kickstarter campaign cannot possibly be illegal, that's a different matter entirely.

                  That's as much as I read, because that was not at all my claim.

                  My claim was that other important steps have to have happened first. You can't just do it bare, without something big happening that makes it so you can. Nothing like that has happened; no criminal conspiracy has been uncovered, just a crowdfunding effort for a purpose that would be probably be a tort by the entity receiving the money against another entity. If that is what you have, and you accuse a third party you don't have any connection to, you're going to be facing a "show cause" hearing where your fine is assessed, you're not suing that third party.

                  Just like, if somebody keys your car in your driveway at night, at it turns out that he works as a veterinarian, you can't sue his clients for the damages to your car.

                  The idea that the answer to questions about being sued is always "maybe" is false as soon as you have even one known fact about the situation. If you know nothing at all, then "maybe." But if you know what the relationship between the parties is, not everything always remains a maybe. And if you know they don't actually have a direct relationship, then you know you need a solid reason to sue them.

                  In this case, the problem isn't even the receipt of the money, any lawsuit would be over who gets to keep the money. If somebody tried to sue the backers, they'd get a "show cause" hearing. If they thought it was illegal to collect the money for that purpose, they'd have to sue kickstarter, not the backers. But that would be an insane claim that would also likely get to a "show cause" hearing. Their lawyers aren't going to be that horrible at their jobs; they would instead sue claiming that the money collected belongs to them! These "Gawker Foundation" people appear to be trading on the name of the company they lost control of, to try to rebuild it somehow, it might very well be that the rightful owner of Gawker owns whatever they collect. The bankruptcy process is still ongoing, why would this money raised not be part of it? It is hard to claim it is unrelated when they're even trying to use the collected money to bid on part of the bankrupt property! In the name of that property! If they raise $1m, then perhaps that is just $1m that Gawker raised, and the stuff about creating another corporation is just a sham that the Court will pierce. These are more interesting questions than, "golly, when you donate money can you be randomly sued for it, by anybody in the world?" (no)

      • Uhm. The answer is "no," but just wow.

        The correct answer when it comes to the possibility of being sued is always "maybe".

        To claim an absolute no... well, Wow.

        • It may be true as a general rule, but in your example it is not true.

          It is too stupid to be worth a lot of analysis.

          You can't sue people for having donated money to somebody else. If you find a lawyer and try it, you don't get to a lawsuit, you get to a hearing where a judge decides how much to fine your lawyer.

          • It may be true as a general rule, but in your example it is not true.

            Why not? It seems like an incredibly easy target to go after, with an obviously wealthy pool of donors who all have lots of identifying information easily accessed via legal request.

            It is too stupid to be worth a lot of analysis.

            You think that, but your problem is you don't know how to think like a lawyer to see what is really possible or easy. I am married to a lawyer so I have a lot more insight as to what could potentially happen from

  • I'm in for half a Dogecoin. What do I get?

  • by b0s0z0ku ( 752509 ) on Saturday December 16, 2017 @01:12PM (#55751605)

    PeterThielsMomma.com

    I echo the sentiments of other posters on here -- they were railroaded because of their legit muckraking, not because of a tape of a has-been wrestler.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      No, they were railroaded because they couldn't keep their fucking snark out of the legal process. Judge says, "take the Hogan sex tape article down." They defied that order. They testified under oath that they'd publish the sex tapes of child celebrities if they had them, because they believe them to be in the public interest. They lied to the judge concerning the valuation of their stock, which ruined their ability to post a bond to get through the appeal process and ultimately killed the company.

      So maybe

    • by Fringe ( 6096 )
      They weren't "railroaded". They wrapped themselves in dynamite, doused in gasoline, with lit candles all around them, and sat on the railroad track when they vocally violated not just the law but then the court orders.
  • by Snufu ( 1049644 ) on Saturday December 16, 2017 @01:48PM (#55751707)

    but I have already dedicated my spare resources and efforts to support the important ongoing work of the TMZ foundation.

    • Likewise, except I've spent my resources on the William Connor foundation for the splendid work he did with Liberace back in the day, because we really need to make sure that famous people can't hide being gay.
  • I see... the same Gawker that led an active campaign against the SCAM SCAM SCAM that were crowdfunding initiatives. That's hillarious.

  • Because nothing says good journalism like gawking/

If I have seen farther than others, it is because I was standing on the shoulders of giants. -- Isaac Newton

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