Shoulda Listened, Nick! Here is Some More Advice: Time to Fire Sam Biddle

Gawker’s response to its scandalous outing of a corporate executive has been chaotic. It is unclear what strategy the leadership has in place to stop the ongoing haemorrhaging of advertisers. The Witchfinder says that if Gawker wants to clean up its act it is time for  Nick Denton to put Gawker’s house in order. That means reaching out to #GamerGate in a serious and sustained way, covering some socially useful stories and cutting out the cancer at the heart of Gawker Media – it is time for that epitomé of morally bankrupt journalist, Sam Biddle, to go.

In February this year I emailed Nick Denton and Max Read to complain about an article on By Sam F Biddle, it had two major flaws. Firstly, the headling was wildly untrue, far from being a rump of psychopaths GamerGate has continued to grow in size and power. At the time of writing the major forum KotakuInAction now has over 47 thousand members.

Key figures in GamerGate have continued to grow in power, with the fair Shoe0nHead for example now at 77 thousand subscribers, despite her infrequent videos. If June produced say 1-2 videos a week she could monetise and live comfortably – perhaps wealthily – on the advertising revenues.

Secondly the article essentially amounted to picking an … eccentric … from the internet (who later turned out to be a hoaxer) and singling them out, bedlam style, for mockery. The article, like many before it from Sam Biddle, was a disgrace.


Sam F Biddle makes use of stigmatising mental health tropes, singling out a vulnerable individual for ridicule.

I received no response from Denton, but an email I got from Max Read said he would not change the title. It is now just under 6 months later and earlier today Max Read’s resignation was announced. The damage done to Gawker by the stories he has approved is incalculable and has accelerate the loss of revenue and credibility begun so effectively by GamerGate.

The forgoing is only one example of Biddle’s moral bankruptcy. Only a few months before he cost Gawker ad revenue by tweeting, “Ultimately #GamerGate is reaffirming what we’ve known to be true for decades: nerds should be constantly shamed and degraded into submission”. The irony here is of course is that Biddle and Denton are losing. It is #GamerGate who are slowly but surely shaming and degrading Gawker Media into submission.

DentonSwastika (whose parent company Gawker Media has Nick Denton for a CEO) thought it would be really funny to poison Coca Cola’s #MakeItHappy campaign with text from Mein Kampf. The Witchfinder thinks it would be really funny if no one advertised with Gawker ever again and Mr Denton was socially ostracised. Swastika by Dreamstime, Nick Denton by Dave Winer on Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0 License –

In March we had the surreal spectacle of the Chairman of the British Conservative Party condemning Gawker for writing a script bot to automatically tweet passages from Mein Kampf.

One of the major problems getting politicians involved has been convincing them that Gawker is real.

“No, Grant, they really do have Nazi robots!”

Even so, engaging politicians is an important goal – Zoe Quinn had her congressional briefing. I believe we can do a hundred times better if we leverage our numbers.

The UK Parliament has an e-petitions system open to the public. If 10,000 people upvote a petition the government will respond. 100,000 forces a Parliamentary debate.

InvisibleJim over on /v/KotakuInAction/ has submitted a petition to make Steam style refund offers mandatory in the UK – a very sensible, concise proposal. Your Inquisitor believes the petition could become law with secondary legislation – a statutory instrument to amend the Consumer Contracts Regulations 2013 (SI 2013 / 3134), which currently apply a ‘cooling off’ refund period to physical goods. Your author hopes everyone will go vote.

We may be producing a petition about Wikipedia in due course. I am aware of more than one MP who would have more than a little to say in a Parliamentary debate.

The boycott campaign by #GamerGate against has cost the site incredible amounts of money. Its credibility has been amplified by political and media condemnation of Gawker’s moral excesses. They key question for Nick Denton should be, what can he do to end the campaign?

Fighting #GamerGate has proven futile. Nick Denton needs to recognise this powerful consumer movement for the opportunity it is and get with the programme. #GamerGate wants recognition for its achievements and it wants criticism of platforms like (for example) Wikipedia that unjustly malign it.

Ironically for Gawker, there are major journalistic opportunities on the side of #GamerGate where exposing dark secrets would serve the public good and naming people would be praised.

One of the few good pieces of journalism Gawker ever did was a partial exposé of the paedophilia that lurks within Wikipedia’s supposedly pristine academic halls. The only time I have credited Gawker for something positive is in my article, Paedophiles of Wikipedia.

Gawker could praise some of #GamerGate’s achievements. It could expose the wrongdoing of some of our opponents. In short it could offer a (significant) olive branch.

To summarise –

  • Key Points for
  • Fire Sam Biddle
  • Fire Sam Biddle More
  • Expose Wikipedia …
  • … and other #GamerGate opponents …
  • Did I mention Fire Same Biddle?

If Gawker could just get on board with our agenda, perhaps things would start moving Nick Denton’s way once again.

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