Gawker Media founder and CEO Nick Denton appeared on “CBS This Morning” for his first network interview since his open letter to Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel, who admitted to bankrolling lawsuits in an attempt to shut down Denton’s company.
“We have some suspicions [Thiel was bankrolling the lawsuits] but it seemed crazy,” Denton said. “He is, as we are, a beneficiary of free speech and free press in this country. He has very controversial views.”
Denton explained that the whole thing is a “complicated story” that began with a sex tape and has turned into a 10-year mission by a billionaire to bankrupt a media company.
“We have to look at every single contingency when you have an angry billionaire against you,” Denton said when Charlie Rose asked if Gawker is for sale.
Denton told the CBS morning show that he had regrets over publishing particular stories, but defended Gawker’s decision to publish snippets from the infamous Hulk Hogan sex tape that resulted in the Thiel-backed lawsuit in which Hogan was awarded a massive sum.
Thiel went from being identified as an eccentric billionaire to the center of an on-going theme of the ultra wealthy using their cash to control how they are covered in the media when he admitted to bankrolling anti-Gawker lawsuits. Thiel initially got upset with Gawker when it ran a story headlined, “Peter Thiel is totally gay, people,” in 2007.
Denton challenged Thiel to an “open and public debate” about journalism’s role in society in his open letter on Thursday.
Check out the video below.