The Internet Erupts At Gawker’s Role In ‘Gay-Shaming’ ‘Blackmail’ Attempt

Gawker took hits from seemingly all corners of the Internet for publishing text messages purportedly exchanged between a male escort and a Conde Nast executive.
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All corners of the Internet on Friday morning seemed to be united in outrage against Gawker for publishing an ethical mess of an article that people said “gay-shamed” and helped blackmail a publishing executive.

Gawker staff writer Jordan Sargent on Thursday published text messages that were supposedly handed to the news site by a gay porn star who also worked as an escort. Gawker said the man did not want to reveal his identity for “professional reasons” and the story identified him only as “Ryan.” The text messages were purportedly exchanged with David Geithner, the chief financial officer at Condé Nast and brother of former Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. The text messages weren’t especially noteworthy, showing the logistics of the two men arranging to rendezvous in Chicago.

The latter half of Gawker’s story was concerned with relating what Ryan said were his trials and travails after getting evicted from a Texas apartment building. Ryan said that he was kicked out because his landlord found out he was a gay porn star, and he turned to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for help, to no avail. He told Gawker he felt the executive “might be able to use his influence to overturn HUD’s decision” after Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) office failed to sway the federal housing agency on his behalf, according to the report.

The executive declined to help Ryan’s housing discrimination case and backed out of their planned rendezvous in Chicago, according to Gawker. The porn star then approached Gawker with the text messages, telling the website that he “has no vendetta” against the executive and “just wants to publicize his case against HUD.”

The executive denied texting with Ryan in a statement to Gawker.

“I don’t know who this individual is. This is a shakedown,” he said. “I have never had a text exchange with this individual. He clearly has an ulterior motive that has nothing to do with me.”

Prominent journalists, several of whom are openly gay, assailed Gawker for “gay-shaming” the executive and accused the website of helping Ryan blackmail him:

One Gawker writer also distanced himself from the piece:

As of Friday morning, the website’s top brass were standing behind the piece. Editor-in-chief Max Read tweeted that the executive’s position within a major media company and the fact that he solicited a male escort while married to a woman justified running the piece:

TPM illustration by associate editor Nick R. Martin.

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Notable Replies

  1. Gawker is a cesspool. And that this appeared on Gawker, or that Gawker was in some way tied to the story, should shock no one. And the story here is that a man wanted to cheat on his wife, an act that should primarily concern his wife .

  2. Start checking out everyone working for Gawker! You are right about it being a cesspool. Remove the lid.

  3. What a bizarre story. Why even involve HUD, let alone trying to get others to pressure HUD into helping? Why wouldn’t he have just hired a lawyer? I mean, I don’t think there are any protections for gay people in Texas, but unless his lease said he couldn’t be a gay porn star, then he wouldn’t be able to evict the guy. I’m sure there’s more to this story, but if it was covered over at Gawker, I’d never know because I’d never read that piece of trash story.

    I really can’t wait until the day when the only reason this would be a story would solely be the cheating aspect and not the gay aspect. Not that I think cheaters should be outed, unless they’re hypocrites about it by denouncing other cheaters. But at least that’s wrongdoing.

  4. I saw that last night while reading Jezebel. I felt dirty after reading it. The only good thing was that the comments are about 98% negative.

  5. Avatar for dwolf dwolf says:

    As I grow older and older
    And totter to the tomb
    I find that I care less and less
    Who goes to bed with whom.

    – Dorothy L. Sayers

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