Hi Mister Denton. I heard that Gawker filed for bankruptcy today. You must be heartbroken. The media empire you spent fourteen years building—being carved up and sold to the highest bidder to pay off a professional wrestler.
This was of course to be expected. A court of justice recently awarded Hulk Hogan $140m in damages against Gawker. You yourself were found personally liable for an additional $10m in damages. Considering the fact you’re only worth $120m, and that you rented out your home last month, I simply can’t imagine there will be much of you left over when all is said and done.
Your company is gone. Your money is gone. Your luxurious home is gone. No longer will three hundred Gawker employees answer to your beck and call. But that’s OK. Because I believe you should be given the chance that most of your victims will never have—the chance to get a job that will overlook your past and allow you to earn an honest wage like everyone else.
You may remember me as the woman whose reputation was destroyed by your Valleywag writer Sam Biddle, who labeled me a “Pro-Slavery Lunatic.” Tsk tsk. Your staff didn’t even have the professionalism to link to actual tweet for which I was indicted. Because if you had, your readers would have been able to clearly see I was talking about how we should help Walmart workers, who suffer injustices worse than slavery. But your late media empire didn’t care about the truth. The only thought that probably crossed Sam Biddle’s trustifarian mind was that he could make more ad revenue for ol’ Nick Denton by destroying the life of yet another innocent working class American.
But I don’t pity myself. I’m actually quite fortunate compared to most of your victims. I never lost my job. I’m still right where I was—an ordinary coder at the bottom of the corporate hierarchy. I’m just one who happens to be held to the same standards of social grace and propriety as a professional politician.
So I’m working class—just like you now. And it’s honestly not so bad! I have to actually do work to earn my living. I have no career prospects or upward mobility. You can live like that too—just as I have. Because here’s the thing that’s actually bad: to be a Gawker victim who got fired, and was too politically radioactive to ever find a job again.
Take for instance Pax Dickinson. You got him fired from his job back in 2013 for a joke he made on Twitter a few years earlier. A joke which, twenty years ago, would have just made everyone at a party pause for a moment of discomfort and move on. But his entire career was destroyed. He tried to find work for years, with no success. When he couldn’t find work, he tried to start a business. A wonderful woman was brave and merciful enough to be his business partner. She sacrificed a lot of her social capital to give him a second chance. But even then, no one would support them, simply because the “bro” Gawker ridiculed was involved in the business. In fact, she was harassed relentlessly by activists until she had no choice but to capitulate.
If I had to describe Pax, I’d call him a working class man who isn’t even allowed to work. It’s the sort of cruel fate you’d expect to befall an ex-felon rapist. Except for Pax—a man guilty of a tweet—his misery is so much worse. Because unlike criminal background checks, the Google search results Gawker dominates don’t cost money to view. They’re only a click away. So the only work leftover that poor Pax is allowed to do, is fanatically rage against the totalitarian system of thought control that people like you helped architect.
Nick Denton, you’ve committed far more wrong than Pax and I ever have or will, and you deserve so much worse. But I won’t revel in your newfound equality with ordinary Americans. I won’t demand you be blacklisted from professional life for the remainder of your days. I’m a forgiving person who believes you deserve a chance to earn an honest meager wage, doing labor that’s actually productive, just like everyone else.
So pay off your debts. Find a humble job. And when you do, send me a postcard. We can be working class buddies. Pen pals, if you will. We’ll forget the injustices of days gone by, and live happily ever after, as ordinary people.