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Is Gawker afraid of free speech?


Above is a note that our ‘frenemy’ Richard Lawson (scandalous writer and pet subject of this author) of Gawker recently said to me- essentially a note barring this author (our other interns also received a similar note courtesy of Max Wasserman-an ingrate who once wrote an article for us which led to a fashion designer being scorned and threatening to sue this publisher…blah!) from ever commenting on Gawker’s website ever again. The question then begs, what prompted this behemoth media company from enforcing such a decision?

The note itself is repeated in bold below. Notice the word banned is mentioned twice…blah!

‘you’re banned. Richard Lawson has banned you.’ 10.40 AM’

As anyone knows the sole existence of media is to inform the public of current events, ideas, movements and to generally provide a lively and entertaining forum for repartee and inclusion of what passes for news in society or rather that of the world. For anyone who has spent a considerable amount of time perusing the web-sphere they will instantly agree that Gawker holds a commanding position in this terrain. Prone to sardonic humor, scandal and bad mouthing as many derelicts of society and its resulting faux pas. A cause that this author also takes to heart. Of course Gawker will always go a step further and illicit hostile feelings and ridicule because they simply understand this is what sets the readers off and a healthy dissing, with a modicum of tongue and (vicious) cheek goes a long way.

Of course where Gawker and this journal deviate is that we like to take the time to explore the underlying dynamics pursuant to any scene and hopefully by dissecting a scene we engender a more thorough discussion, something that may have inspired Gawker’s publisher Nick Denton once, but since french fries and dollar burgers always fly off the shelf faster a healthy serving of fatty grease congested news will suffice. To be sure it’s a type of journalism that we and many others enjoy. But then again, what’s there to enjoy when a large media company seeks to stifle dissenting points of views, or even corroborating points of views that it comes in contact with? At that point all they are is a pr machine for espoused points of views and hardly fresh or relevant media, appearances aside.

Granted we had a frequency of skimming Gawker’s articles and offering our comments alongside to those articles if we were inspired to also comment with a html link at the bottom of each comment we made that would link back to our site. A clever way to advertise our own opinion and journal, no doubt, but also a clever way to propagate discussion and other alternative points of views until Richard Lawson, a writer that this journal once claimed the number one tabloid sleaze writer in the American tabloid sleaze department (Mr Richard Johnson’s NY Post or rather as I like to call it the NY Gutter– cheekiness aside came in second place…oh well).

So here’s the crux, if Gawker as a publisher was aghast with us linking back to our site, a practice that most journals (including our own) pursue, then why get hyperventilated and cut us off? Could they not simply allow comments to simply be made without recourse to hyper links? After all as long as we or any individual is allowed to add their two cents why dissent? Had we been capricious, were malicious, were racist, sexist or any of the other imaginable ills that some commentators like to pursue- then yes I would understand, by all means cut us off. But Richard, my dear, not once were we profane, insidious, reckless, sexist, racist or any other negative sentiment. We always, always, engendered discussion of said themes that you brought to the table. It was always up to your readers to ignore our comments if they chose to and if you perceived it as jamming our views, then tough luck our dears- this is free press and as long as you portend to present it that way, we should all have access to expressing our voice, as you are always welcome to express your point of view.



  1. The so called New Media Mafia which is no longer so new, has many of the very same prejudices as the old media. Whereas the NY Times has sources it will cross link, the truth is Gawker does the same promoting of cross linking their new media “friends” on other platforms who are in on the snarkiness. Nick Denton’s brilliance is not that he is any kind of revolutionary, he has simply attempted to duplicate the old media only online. He is simply a man who aspires to be equally as douchey as those he attempts to replace.

  2. Methinks “You’re banned!” is the new “You need to get a hobby!” It’s only funny because Lawson’s stream of consciousness writing style can be so…rambling — yet amusing. Unlike his terse e-mails… “:)

  3. I read the Gawker commenters regularly and no one EVER links to their own stuff. It’s either a breach of etiquette or they always ban people who do it. Either way, it clearly annoys them. I’m not convinced it was a personal slight.

  4. It is sad, and yet flattering that Gawker/Richard Lawson/Max Wasserman, as high as they may be on themselves, feel the need to not only ban the editor and chief from commenting(with link), but ban the intern as well. Scallywag and Vagabond can be seen as “small potatoes” when compared to Gawker. Why would they bother and take the time out to ban both people?

    One has to think what is really going on in all the Gawkerites minds…..Maybe someone is feeling Threatened?

  5. Does Devorah Rose pay you to say good things about her Scallywag? Honest- you’re her cheering squad.

  6. Joelle, it would be even tackier of me to show my comments in this article. They are all there. I would rather prefer Gawker prove to me that my comments were tacky and in bad form. I don’t think they will find one, and if they do – please by all means bring it to my attention.

    As for public masturbation? I’ll leave that to the kids in the zoo- Lady Gaga, Lilo and all the usual subjects…

  7. Show us screen shots of the comments you were posting and let your readers decide if the ban was warranted. It’s commonly considered tacky and bad form to self-link when commenting on someone else’s site, like masturbating in public.

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