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BDG Media shutters revived Gawker and lays off 8% of staff

The company's CEO said it cannot "push millions of dollars into a pre-monetisation product".

By Bron Maher

BDG Media is “suspending” Gawker, the brand it revived in 2021, and laying off 8% of staff at the digital media publisher.

BDG’s chief executive Bryan Goldberg announced the news in an internal memo seen by Axios.

Goldberg told Axios the company could not sustain Gawker under the current economic circumstances: “Gawker was essentially an early-stage start-up within our company. And the time came to either triple-down on the investment or pull back and focus on our other properties. 

“And, unfortunately, now just isn’t the moment to push millions of dollars into a pre-monetisation product.”

As well as Gawker, BDG publishes Bustle, Elite Daily, W and Mic. The company laid staff off at Mic and closed tech title Input in September.

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In his memo, Goldberg reportedly said: “After experiencing a financially strong 2022, we have found ourselves facing a surprisingly difficult Q1 of 2023.

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“BDG has made the decision to reprioritise some of our investments that better position the Company for the direction we see the industry moving.”

Gawker editor-in-chief Leah Finnegan said on Twitter: “BDG has decided it is done with Gawker 2.0. Can’t say enough about how proud I am of the site and all the brilliant people who worked to create it, and what a staggering shame this is. I had an absolute blast, and I love you.”

The news has been received to widespread dismay on the platform, with commentators praising the revived site’s unorthodox style and approach to content. Numerous other users simply quotetweeted Finnegan’s announcement commenting: “this sucks”.

Influential in media circles and on Twitter, the first version of Gawker was set up in 2008 and developed a reputation for humorous and often cutting commentary and gossip.

It was forced to close in August 2016 after losing a court battle with wrestler Hulk Hogan, bankrolled by tech billionaire Peter Thiel. The case related to Gawker’s 2012 publication of a sex tape featuring Hogan and saw Gawker go bankrupt after it was ordered to pay $115m in damages.

The BDG cuts continue the sharp increase in news layoffs that began in late 2022. Press Gazette found that more than 1,000 jobs in English-language media were cut in January 2023 alone.

[Read more: At least 1,000 jobs cut in English-language news media in January]

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Select and enter your email address Weekly insight into the big strategic issues affecting the future of the news industry. Essential reading for media leaders every Thursday. Your morning brew of news about the world of news from Press Gazette and elsewhere in the media. Sent at around 10am UK time. Our weekly does of strategic insight about the future of news media aimed at US readers. A fortnightly update from the front-line of news and advertising. Aimed at marketers and those involved in the advertising industry.
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  • COO
  • CFO
  • CTO
  • Chairperson
  • Non-Exec Director
  • Other C-Suite
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  • President/Partner
  • Senior Executive/SVP or Corporate VP or equivalent
  • Director or equivalent
  • Group or Senior Manager
  • Head of Department/Function
  • Manager
  • Non-manager
  • Retired
  • Other
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how Progressive Media Investments may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
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