The cost to Gawker Media of its ridicule and viciousness toward video gamers was “seven figures” in lost advertising revenue, according to the company’s head of advertising, Andrew Gorenstein. In addition, founder Nick Denton has stepped down as president and editorial director Joel Johnson has been removed from his post and will probably leave the company, reports Capital New York.
“Ultimately #GamerGate is reaffirming what we’ve known to be true for decades: nerds should be constantly shamed and degraded into submission,” Gawker writer Sam Biddle tweeted in October, sparking a firestorm of outrage which solidified into a sustained letter-writing campaign to Gawker’s advertisers, which continues today, against the bullying of marginalised groups by mainstream media outlets.
A number of advertisers, including Adobe and Mercedes-Benz, distanced themselves from Gawker after receiving communications from GamerGate supporters. It is not known how much GamerGate, a consumer revolt advocating better ethics in video game journalism and rejecting feminist critiques of video games, may have cost other publishers.
Gawker, together with Vox Media, represent the “worst offenders” in the media, according to GamerGate forums: they have both, through properties such as Kotaku and Polygon, respectively, repeatedly mocked video gamers and uncritically reported claims of threats and harassment from feminist campaigners which are falling apart under closer scrutiny.
Parallels have been noted by GamerGate supporters with the U-Va. rape controversy currently engulfing Rolling Stone magazine, in which an outlandish gang rape claim was reported by the media without, it seems, the proper fact- or sense-checking being performed on stories that were published alongside sensationalist editorial about rape culture on American campuses.
GamerGate supporters accuse feminists of manufacturing threat claims to deflect attention from criticism of their outlandish claims about video games: for example, that games promote violence against women and contribute to an “atmosphere of misogyny” in popular culture.
In recent years, Gawker has become closely associated, in particular through its Jezebelblog, with these radical feminist activists, who demand that their stories of rape, abuse and harassment be believed without journalists being allowed to perform basic checks. This principle, say GamerGate supporters, critics of Rolling Stone and others, runs contrary to basic journalistic ethics, which require more scepticism before the widespread publication of serious allegations.
As if to illustrate this point, GamerGate today drew attention to the case of Brianna Wu, a transgender far-left agitator whose claims of rape and death threats were widely republished by credulous media outlets, but which appear to be disintegrating under scrutiny.
Supporters today noted that despite Wu’s claims to have been driven from her home and to effectively be “on the run” from her threateners, every on-camera interview she has conducted to date has been recorded at the same location.
Wu has also been accused of trolling, fabricating threats and blaming GamerGate supporters for “doxxing” her–that is, revealing her personal details on the internet–with no evidence that communications came from anyone associated with GamerGate.
Denton said on Wednesday at a Gawker staff gathering that appointing Joel Johnson to the position of editorial director of Gawker Media had been “a mistake.” Although Gawker’s revenue continues to grow year-on-year, GamerGate supporters can rightly claim to have given the company a significant bloody nose.
The management changes at Gawker announced this week follow the removal of Sam Biddle from the company’s Valleywag blog after his offensive tweets and near-silence from the company since a series ofconfused apologies and panicked clarifications.