Gawker, the gossipy and snarky pop-culture site rebooted in mid-2021, is shutting down — for a second time, with the CEO of parent company Bustle Digital Group citing the need to prioritize “better-monetizing sites.”

In addition to Gawker’s shutdown, BDG chief Bryan Goldberg announced a layoff of 8% of staff across the company.

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.”

In a memo sent to company staffers Wednesday, Goldberg wrote, “Gawker published a lot of brilliant pieces in these nearly two years. But in this new reality, we have to prioritize our better-monetized sites. It’s a business decision, and one that, reluctantly, must be made.”

A BDG spokesperson declined to provide further info, including how many employees will be losing their jobs because of the move.

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”; “Why Is Taylor Swift Always Showing Feet?”; “The Best and Worst Media TikTok Accounts”; and “Surprising No One, George Santos Is a Disney Adult.”

The Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE) said it was “appalled by BDG’s decision to lay off nearly 40 of our unit members.” The union noted that it’s the third round of layoffs at BDG over the last six months, which have “effectively led to halving the original unit from 200 workers to just above 100 workers.”

“Today’s latest round of layoffs, and the closure of Gawker, came after more than two years of attempting to bargain a first contract with BDG, and on the heels of more recent bargaining dates being outright canceled by the company,” WGAE said in a statement, adding that it will “continue to press for a contract that both protects our workers’ rights and guarantees a severance that acknowledges their labor and the worth they create for their company.”

BDG had intended to relaunch Gawker.com in 2019 but Goldberg suspended those plans and laid off the staff he had hired after 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.”

BDG, founded in 2013, has made a series of roll-up acquisitions of smaller digital media outlets. The New York-based company’s portfolio comprises a range of lifestyle brands including Bustle, Nylon, The Zoe Report, Elite Daily, Mic, Inverse, Fatherly and Scary Mommy.

In 2016, Nick Denton’s Gawker Media filed for bankruptcy and sell six of its websites to Univision Communications for $135 million — excluding Gawker.com — 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 is gay. The Thiel-backed litigation included Hulk Hogan’s invasion-of-privacy lawsuit against Gawker over a video the site 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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