Gawker chief Bryan Goldberg offered a public finger wag to the site’s newly-hired editorial director Carson Griffith, telling TheWrap he did not condone earlier tweets from Griffith that were dredged up by Splinter, many of which complained about her maid or used racially insensitive language.
“Nobody at our company, myself included, condoned or stood behind the tweets. Those tweets absolutely do not reflect the company’s values. That’s certainly not the direction Gawker will go,” Goldberg told TheWrap in response to an emailed inquiry. “As I’ve stated before, we are many months away from the re-launch, and we are going to continue to say absolutely nothing about the product until we are ready.”
Racially-charged tweets dating back as far as 2010 include Griffith commenting about the temperature a nail salon, writing, “This nail salon is so hot i might pass out. I hope the asian are as good at throwing water on my face as they are at doing nails.”
The tweets in question have since been taken down, but Splinter captured a number of screen shots.
Griffith didn’t immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment.
The company declined to comment on whether any disciplinary action had been taken against Griffith or whether she would continue to remain as editorial director. Goldberg, the CEO of Bustle Digital Group, purchased Gawker.com at an auction in July 2018. The site had been in limbo for years after a lawsuit brought by Hulk Hogan bankrupted its former parent company Gawker Media. Goldberg paid $1.35 million for the property.
Disagreements with Griffith played a direct role in the departure of Gawker 2.0’s only two staff writers, Maya Kosoff and Anna Breslaw, as first reported in the Daily Beast on Wednesday. Among the complaints were Griffith’s jokes about poor people, speculation about the penis size of a notable businessman, and taking a “dismissive stance towards the recruiting of a writer who identifies as non-binary,” per the Beast.
“Any time an employee makes a claim about workplace behavior, we take it seriously and look as deeply into it as we can. We do so through official and legal channels,” Goldberg told TheWrap in response to his former writer’s concerns.
With brutal layoffs taking a bite out of BuzzFeed, HuffPost and Gannett this week, Goldberg’s Bustle empire has increasingly emerged as a successful outlier. Unlike many competitors, the company and its flagship website Bustle.com are in the black and Goldberg himself has developed something of a reputation for buying distressed media properties like Elite Daily and turning them around.
In addition to Gawker, Goldberg picked up Mic.com last November, as well, after the website ran out of money and was forced to lay off their entire editorial staff. The website’s co-founders Jake Horowitz and Chris Altchek are now employees of Bustle Digital Group.