When I started writing on this site in earnest, Nick Denton was rolling along right at the top of his game. He still had several more gay people to out and various other life-altering gossip bombs to drop, but as we now know, he was on the long road to ruin even then. Peter Thiel and Hulk Hogan have been doggedly persuing Hogan’s case and it’s paid off in spades. I talked about some of the newest developments on the Rundown yesterday. To make a long story short, Denton is in trouble for misrepresenting the worth of Gawker stock to the Florida judge who oversaw his court battle with Hogan. Today, he filed for bankruptcy in response to his declining fortunes.
Gawker founder Nick Denton filed for personal bankruptcy Monday in the aftermath of a Florida jury’s awarding $140 million to Hulk Hogan in a privacy case revolving around a sex tape posted on Gawker.com…
Denton’s bankruptcy filing Monday says he owes $125 million to Hogan, a former professional wrestler. Filing for bankruptcy protection helps shield him from Hogan after Denton’s other legal efforts to block Hogan from collecting failed.
Overall, Denton’s filing says he has $100 million to $500 million in liabilities and that his assets are worth $10 million to $50 million.
Denton tweeted on Monday that it was a “bitter day” for him but that New York-based Gawker Media, home to blogs including women’s site Jezebel and the tech-themed Gizmodo as well as the snarky Gawker, would “thrive” under new owners. An auction is scheduled for mid-August.
Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel bankrolled the lawsuit filed by Hogan, whose real name is Terry Bollea, against Gawker. That raised concerns about the wealthy using their power to bring down media outlets.
In a memo to Gawker Media staff, Denton wrote that it’s “disturbing to live in a world in which a billionaire can bully journalists because he didn’t like the coverage.” Thiel, who co-founded PayPal and was an early investor in Facebook, was outed as gay by a Gawker-owned website.
Hogan’s attorney David Houston said in a statement that Denton’s bankruptcy “has nothing to do with who paid Mr. Bollea’s legal bills, and everything to do with Denton’s own choices and accountability. If even one person has been spared the humiliation that Mr. Bollea suffered, this is a victory.”
Vox Day summed up things pretty well, in my opinion…
It’s almost not sporting to laugh at Nick and his downfall anymore. Well, it wouldn’t be under normal circumstances. However, we all know Gawker would be trashing their foes all the way to the poorhouse no matter how bad things got. They made a name of showing no mercy and doing thing just because they could. Yes, I’ve run hard-hitting stories as well. I’ve even outed and shamed people. However, every single person who has been written about negatively on this site did something to earn it first. It might have been an attack on me or on others, but they earned it. The same can’t be said about Gawker.
They outed Peter Thiel for no reason. They outed a mid-level magazine executive for no reason. They have smeared celebrities for sport with some of the nastiest work the web has ever seen. Hulk Hogan’s sex tape was pimped by their sleazeball site for no reasons other than sadism and profit. This is just a small sampling of their sins. I wouldn’t feel comfortable writing an extensive catalog without spending days, if not weeks on it. They’re that bad. It’s not an exaggeration.
Gawker is a stain on us all and it’s good that their founder is circling the drain. It didn’t have to be like this, but the ego and vanity of Denton cost him everything. It should serve as a lesson to any of us who write or participate in the public dialogue. Don’t let cockiness get you caught up. If it can happen to Nick Denton and Gawker Media, who once seemed almost bulletproof, it can happen to anyone.