Gawker founder Nick Denton called out Peter Thiel in an open letter on Thursday, addressing the recent revelation that the Silicon Valley giant has been secretly funding lawsuits against his company.
“Peter, this is twisted,” Denton wrote in his message, noting the vast financial toll that the Hulk Hogan lawsuit has taken on individuals associated with the story. “Even were you to succeed in bankrupting Gawker Media, the writers you dislike, and me, just think what it will mean.”
Denton warned the Facebook board member that his actions would have greater consequences regarding the ability of the press to function. He also accused Thiel of nursing a “diabolical decade-long scheme for revenge,” calling him a “comic-book villian.”
“We, and those you have sent into battle against us, have been stripped naked, our texts, online chats and finances revealed through the press and the courts; in the next phase, you too will be subject to a dose of transparency,” Denton warned. “However philanthropic your intention, and careful the planning, the details of your involvement will be gruesome.”
The battle between Thiel and Gawker began in 2007, when the website attempted to out him before he publicly came out as gay. This week, it was revealed that Thiel had been working with a team of lawyers to help “victims” of Gawker, including Hulk Hogan, who recently won a $140 million verdict against the company.
Rather than firing back, Denton called for a “truce” between the two parties and asked for a public conversation. “I’m going to suggest an alternative approach … let us have an open and public debate,” he wrote.
The letter closed with a list of questions, including “Is your goal to bankrupt, buy, or wound Gawker Media?” and “When you say your aim is deterrence rather than revenge, whom do you aim to deter?”