That didn’t take long.
It’s been less than a month since Univision agreed to buy Gawker Media in the wake of a bankruptcy sale prompted by the $140 million invasion-of-privacy judgment won by professional wrestler Hulk Hogan. Already, Gawker Media’s notoriously independent editorial staffers and Univision’s corporate higher-ups are beginning to clash with one another.
This afternoon, Gawker Media’s editorial union posted a statement condemning Univision’s decision, made on Friday, to delete six controversial posts from Gawker Media sites. The posts, which were the subject of pending litigation against Gawker Media, raised questions about a purported inventor of email, an acquitted rapist and internet troll Chuck Johnson, among other things.
Gawker Media’s editorial union says the move “undermines the foundation of the ability of Gawker Media’s employees to do our work.”
We condemn this action by Univision’s executives in the strongest possible terms. It sets an alarming precedent both for our relationship with our new owners and for the business of journalism as a whole. It is unacceptable for a publisher to delete legitimate and true news stories for business reasons.
When Univision agreed to purchase Gawker Media in August, Hamilton Nolan, Gawker’s longest-serving writer, called the Spanish-language media giant “the best choice out of the options we had” and importuned incoming bosses to keep Gawker open. Univision ultimately shuttered Gawker.com, and its writers moved to other Gawker Media publications, including Jezebel and Gizmodo.
In the wake of the deletions, the next step is “trying to rebuild trust with Univision” Gawker Media’s union’s said in its statement.
We hope that Univision will take extremely seriously its responsibility to reach an agreement with this company’s writers and editors that will allow us to safely do our jobs here.