The Gawker reboot faltered because the entire media world has become Gawker
I wonder what Justine Sacco thinks about what’s happening at Gawker 2.0. Today, Gawker’s only two staff writers quit in protest of their editor Carson Griffith’s unsafe language. Maya Kosoff and Anna Breslaw released a statement that they could not “continue to work under someone who is antithetical to our sensibility and journalistic ethics, or for an employer who refuses to listen to the women who work for him when it’s inconvenient.”
Kosoff and Breslaw objected to comments and jokes made by Griffith’s about poverty, race, and penis size. According to The Daily Beast, Griffith’s other thoughtcrimes included dismissing “diversity training” sessions and not taking preferred pronouns seriously. Things went from bad to worse for Griffith when Splinter published a bunch of her tweets, many of which were in bad taste, in a charming hit piece entitled, “Here Are the Media Chuds Joining Fake Gawker.”
After the pair ran to Human Resources to tell on Griffith, they were told that Griffith would remain in her role. That’s when they walked. If any of this sounds petty and pointless, that’s because it is. All of it. But that’s the culture Gawker helped to create.
Gawker is experiencing an in-house crisis that mirrors the countless crises that it was responsible for in its first incarnation as North America’s number one source for online shaming. When Justine Sacco’s life was destroyed in 2013 over some joke tweets, Gawker played a major role in amplifying the story.
In a 2014 Gawker piece, Sam Biddle described his reasoning for publicly shaming Sacco for a joke on Twitter: “Twitter disasters are the quickest source of outrage, and outrage is traffic. I didn’t think about whether or not I might be ruining Sacco’s life.”
Sacco lost her job and became the number one trending topic on Twitter as a result, with hundreds of thousands of people calling her every name in the book and telling her to kill herself. To Biddle’s credit, he eventually made peace with Sacco and apologized.
Gawker’s shame-driven publishing model would eventually spell the end of the magazine, when Hulk Hogan (real name Terry Bollea) and Peter Thiel teamed up to sue the site into bankruptcy for posting a sex tape of Hogan. However, the outrage-driven mentality has only increased in our culture since Gawker 1.0’s demise, with many mainstream news outlets taking up the mantle of defaming and shaming.
In a lot of ways, it feels like the entire media world has become Gawker in Gawker’s absence, as week after week, new stories emerge that are sourced by and catered to the outrage of readers. These stories are often about language policing (like this current Gawker one), but as we’ve learned from the recent Covington Catholic debacle, language isn’t even required. A smirk is enough to shame you.
People who grew up in communist dictatorships often speak about surveillance culture. They talk about the fake language they had to use in order to avoid getting into trouble—a code that was used to speak around their truth. They recall the fear in their neighbours’ eyes when certain subjects were brought up.
A similar fear is spreading throughout North America. Surveillance culture has seeped into our universities, our corporations, and our media. Things that used to be considered harmless banter are now considered unsafe or even hateful. One wonders how a simple goal like collegiality is even possible to achieve in 2019.
Surveillance culture has led to the derailing of Gawker 2.0 before it even had a chance to get started. Perhaps they will find other writers and find a way to carry on despite the will of the woke.
But I can’t help but thinking about Justine Sacco. I wonder what she thinks about the current Gawker mess. I wonder what she makes of all this surveillance, mobbing, and shaming that has only escalated since her ordeal. I wonder what insights she might have as one of the most recognizable victims of this cultural nightmare that we can’t seem to wake up from. I bet she could write one hell of an essay about all of this, and it looks like Gawker is in need of writers.
A raccoon was spotted on a city bus in London, Ontario last night around 8 pm. One passenger was able to snap a picture of the along route 19 in the Masonville area.
The LTC replied to the tweet saying,
No one quite knows how the little guy managed to board the bus and the LTC has yet to comment.
Word on the street is after failing to present a valid ticket he was asked to leave, begrudgingly he waddled off muttering something about the LTC.
Multiple charges were laid against Andrij Olesiuk after he claimed to have handed over $4,100 to a door-to-door canvasser to give to the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team, according to the Saskatoon StarPhoenix.
Olesiuk claimed that he did not know the name of the woman he gave the money to. He also said that the receipt she gave him was burned in a house fire.
Over a year ago, Olesiuk had multiple charges laid against him involved with using the Humboldt Broncos’ fundraiser for his own benefit.
According to evidence and documents from the case, close to $3,700 was deposited into 33-year-old Olesiuk’s account. Prosecutor Darren Howarth told the court that the money was never sent to the Saskatchewan hockey team. The money was raised using the #PrayForHumboldt GoFundMe page.
The trial took place at the Saskatoon provincial court on Wednesday. When Olesiuk testified he said, “My intention was to raise funds for the families affected by the tragedy.”
According to the Olesiuk, he gave away the money on April 24, 2018. He claimed in court that the money totaled $4,100.
Olesiuk claimed that he gave away the money in $100 bills and that his family donated about $700 to the cause themselves.
He was charged and arrested in November 2018.
Olesiuk claimed that he sent the money with the canvasser because it would be easier than traveling to Humboldt. He also said that she seemed to be legitimate.
The GoFundMe page specified that Olesiuk was supposed to give the money directly to the team. He was unsure where the money he handed over to the woman had ended up.
His prosecutor said, “You gave it to someone you didn’t know… You didn’t even know if she was representing the Humboldt Broncos hockey team.”
Olesiuk responded, “I don’t know for sure.”
He also said that the house fire took place three months after the incident destroying his receipt which was delivered to him a couple of days after handing over the money.
According to the police, there were 35 people who contributed to the GoFundMe page before it was closed a few weeks after the accident.
Olesiuk was charges included:
- Fraud over $5,000
- Fraud under $5,000
- Possession of property obtained by crime over $5,000
- Possession of property obtained by crime under $5,000
- Laundering proceeds of crime
According to RCMP Cpl. Craig Hall, most of the money was spent at Canadian Tire, convenience stores, and fast food restaurants.
Closing arguments are taking place Thursday morning.
A former government employee told HuffPost Canada she was punished for giving comment to the news outlet on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s use of blackface when it became an international story during the 2019 federal election.
39-year-old Manjot Bains told HuffPo she was reprimanded and commanded to not speak about racism publicly after she spoke to a HuffPo reporter in a September story where she wasn’t identified as a federal employee. Bains faced a lot of backlash at work where she was a senior program adviser, which led to her quitting her job at the Multiculturalism and Anti-Racism Initiatives program that’s part of the Department of Canadian Heritage.
“The prime minister is the one who performed blackface, not me. But somehow I faced repercussions for his actions,” Bains said to HuffPost.
Bains was hired last May and was cleared by her new employer to still continue contributing to her media website, Jugni Style, that covers South Asian culture, so she thought it wouldn’t be a problem to comment on Trudeau’s history of blackface.
Bains told HuffPo she passed along the story to her manager when it was published and was swiftly told she shouldn’t have spoken to the media and had lost her manager’s trust.
Bains then had a meeting with her superiors and was told that public servants aren’t allowed to speak critically of Trudeau publicly, and would have to do “loyalty training” and redo ethics training.
Bains cited her union actually promotes political activity and her contract stated, “the right to engage in political activities while maintaining the principles of political impartiality in the public service.”
Public servants are expected to show a “duty of loyalty” to the Canadian government.
In a much more clear cut case of political activism, a federal public servant was put on leave from his job after releasing an anti-Harper folk song during the 2015 election.
Bains also wrote her own personal account of the ordeal she faced after speaking about her thoughts on Trudeau’s blackface incidents publicly, published by HuffPo as well on Thursday.
The leader of the Conservative party of Canada has resigned after a disappointing election loss where he took the popular vote but lost the path to victory, allowing another Trudeau government.
Andrew Scheer will be resigning from the Conservative leadership role after intense internal party division largely made his position impossible, according to sources that have spoken to the Globe and Mail.
According to Global News, the resignation also came after it was revealed that party funds were used to send Andrew Scheer’s children to private school.
Mr. Scheer announced the decision at a special caucus meeting on Thursday morning.
The decision comes after former Conservative cabinet minister John Baird published his autopsy of the election which was highly critical.
According to Sun Journalist Brian Lilley, the decision will become public once a new leader is selected by the party.
With Scheer out, many have begun to wonder who will be the interim leader and who will run in the following leadership race.
With interim leaders normally staying out of leadership races, multiple high ranking officials will have to weigh their options and decide if they would rather keep the party united, or choose to run as Andrew’s potential replacement. Some pundits believe Conservative insiders such as Erin O’Toole or Peter Mackay could be gunning for that position, due to their brand power and instances which have occurred since the election of Trudeau.
For example, Peter Mackay has harshly criticized the party’s campaign, comparing it to missing on an open net, while O’Toole has voiced his disappointment with results in Ontario, especially with the loss of key figures such as Lisa Raitt.
This is a breaking news story and will be updated.