Tommy Craggs, the executive editor of Gawker Media, and Max Read, the editor-in-chief of Gawker.com, are resigning amid controversy surrounding an article the site posted then unpublished about Condé Nast’s CFO soliciting a gay porn star.
“This was not an easy decision. I hope the partnership group recognizes the degree to which it has betrayed the trust of editorial, and takes steps to materially reinforce its independence,” Read wrote in a memo posted on Gawker Monday.
It’s unclear who will fill the vacant positions.
The website published the contentious story on Thursday evening then took it down the following day after coming under fire from all fronts.
The founder of Gawker, Nick Denton, said that the managing partners of the company voted 4 to 2 to remove the story.
“Gawker is no longer the insolent blog that began in 2003. It does important and interesting journalism about politicians, celebrities and other major public figures,” Denton wrote. “It is the first time we have removed a significant news story for any reason other than factual error or legal settlement.”
Denton sent a second memo to editorial staff on Monday morning standing by his decision as “guardian of the company mission.”
“That post wasn’t what Gawker should stand for, and it is symptomatic of a site that has been out of control of editorial management,” he wrote. “Our flagship site carries the same name as the company, and the reputation of the entire company rests on its work. When Gawker itself is seen as sneering and callous, it affects all of us.”
Read said his decision to quit was in protest of the “process by which” the managing partnership removed the story without the editorial staff’s consent.
“If the partnership had not conducted some kind of utterly opaque backroom vote to delete it — if we had simply posted Nick’s note, as much I disagreed with and disliked it — I think this Monday would be very different,” he said.
Craggs said in his memo that Denton forgot that the writers are the company. “You are, you will always be, the best argument for a company that no longer deserves you,” he told the editorial staff.
“The impulse that led to Thursday’s story is the impulse upon which Nick himself built Gawker’s brand, the impulse against which Gorenstein sells his ads,” he said. The undoing of it began the moment Nick himself put the once inviolable sanctity of Gawker Media’s editorial to a vote.”