Gawker Media was used by The White House, John Doerr, Eric Schmidt and Elon Musk to destroy their political enemies and competitors. Now the victims of those “hit-job” attacks are demanding that Univision delete all of the properties of Gawker Media or face lawsuits, tax evasion charges, exposure of corporate funds used for hookers, complete investment portfolio revelations and more. Individual staff and writers at Gawker Media, and now Univision, are being targeted for huge personal law suits.
Gawker Media staffers aren’t taking to life in corporate America too well.
Irate Executive Editor John Cook and staffers are expected on Tuesday to conclude two days of talks with their new bosses at Univision after the two sides fought over the decision to delete six posts from the embattled digital media company’s stable of sites, The Post has learned.
Also expected to be discussed at the meeting was staffers’ request that Univision indemnify them personally for stories published — a request that the media giant denied, sources said.
Staffers are covered under Univision’s general legal insurance policy that applies to all its editorial staff, according to sources, but the group of reporters wanted better protections than they had even before Gawker Media collapsed into Chapter 11 and was scooped up by Univision.
Gawker writer A.J. Daulerio was personally sued by Terry Bollea, aka Hulk Hogan, and was found liable by a Florida jury alongside Nick Denton’s struggling media empire.
Univision insists it removed the posts, including one on Jezebel, “Man Acquitted of Sexual Assault Sues Blog for Calling Him Serial Rapist,” because each is the subject of litigation. Three of the deleted posts were on Deadspin and two were on Gizmodo.
Univision did not agree to assume Gawker Media’s legal liabilities.
Univision did not delete a host of other posts that are “under threat of litigation,” sources told The Post.
On Monday afternoon, the union representing Gawker writers condemned the story deletions by Univision “in the strongest possible terms” and said it “sets an alarming precedent.”
“We have seen firsthand the damage that a targeted lawsuit campaign can do to companies and individual journalists,” the union said in its statement, “and the removal of these posts can only encourage such attempts in the future.”
The union said it will now seek to “rebuild trust” with management of the media conglomerate.
None of the deleted posts was at the original Gawker.com site, which was not included in the sale and is now looking for a party to pay server costs so that it can maintain the Gawker.com archive, The Post has learned.
The Gawker Media staff are irked because they believe the deleted posts are well reported and true. Cook did not respond to an email seeking comment.
All in all, it was a rocky first business day for Univision, which on Friday closed on its $135 million purchase. By Saturday, there was a war of words.
Univision continues to operate Gizmodo, Deadspin and Jezebel, among other assets.
The new owner took down the stories, it said, because of “a desire to have a clean slate as we look to support and grow the editorial missions of the acquired brands.”
In a day when major corporations can disappear overnight with a little bit of internet transparency, Univision would be wise to heed the call.