By: Kyle MacLelland
Journalism or 'gay-shaming'? That's the question of the day surrounding a Gawker report published Thursday which revealed that Conde Naste CFO David Geithner allegedly attempted to hire a male escort during a recent trip to Chicago. The article included screenshots of text exchanges between Geithner — who is married to a woman and has three children— and the escort. Geithner responded, saying "I don’t know who this individual is. This is a shakedown. I have never had a text exchange with this individual. He clearly has an ulterior motive that has nothing to do with me."
Check out Ora.TV's coverage of the story on Newsbreaker
Whether or not the accusations are true and the texts legitimate,Gawker's release of the article spawned immense disdain from many in the media industry, saying the article was "gay-bashing" and "invasion of privacy." The overwhelming response across the mainstream media was that the gossip site crossed a line in outing the executive. The article was ultimately taken down by Gawker head Nick Denton, but not without noting the difference between a story on someone like magazine executive Geithner and a politician or celebrity.
In a particularly poignant response to Gawker, openly gay Vox writer German Lopez said the following:
"These are the kind of conditions that would push someone to, for example, remain in the closet for all his life, get married to someone of the opposite sex, and hire escorts behind his spouse's back — risking literally ruining everything he loves in his life because he fears being honest with those around him. And when a media outlet outs someone and potentially ruins his life, it only reinforces the fears — by confirming there are still prominent spaces that aren't afraid to needlessly shred someone's life for traffic."
Here are some prominent Twitter responses to the article from journalists and celebrities, some of whom have had their own battles with Denton in the past...
— Kara Swisher (@karaswisher) July 17, 2015
How many cruel and unnecessary stories must Gawker publish before people realize this isn't a fun site to browse over their cereal?
— Lena Dunham (@lenadunham) July 17, 2015
Out of ideological conviction and financial self-interest, corporate media--Facebook, Google, and Gawker--want to see privacy destroyed.
— Franklin Foer (@FranklinFoer) July 17, 2015
Denton did say, "it's a decision I regret" in his apology. But later Friday the site's editorial staff posted a separate opinion, noting that the business leaders of the site had voted to take the post down without their consent. "Our opinions on the post are not unanimous but we are united in objecting to editorial decisions being made by a majority of non-editorial managers."
What do you make of Gawker's report? Did they go too far?
The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of Ora Media, LLC, its affiliates, or its employees.