The Mirror

Charles Johnson Threatens To Take Washington Free Beacon To Court

As if the weekend couldn’t get any more dramatic, Charles C. Johnson, editor-in-chief of GotNews, has threatened to take the Washington Free Beacon to court.

The reason?

The story that WFB‘s Executive Editor Sonny Bunch penned Friday on the Gawker porn star scandal which took a stab at Johnson.

Johnson charges that the article contains libel, namely that he supports outing the personal lives of non-public figures.

Johnson’s name appears in one line of the story. It’s in response to a tweet by Gawker Editor-in-Chief Max Read, who fiercely defended the story about Condé Nast CFO David Geithner seeking the services of a gay male escort that has since been removed from the site.

Read remarked on Twitter, “Given the chance gawker will always report on married c-suite executives of major media companies fucking around on their wives.”

Bunch wrote, “You and Chuck Johnson, Max. Brave souls standing up for ethics in the media. If Gawker is given a choice between aiding someone intent on blackmailing a private figure and not getting clicks, then goddammit, Gawker is going to take the clicks every time!”

In a email to WFB Editor-in-Chief Matthew Continetti, publication founder Michael Goldfarb, and Bunch, Johnson threatened to send a letter to Phil Anschutz or other financial backers of WFB.

He also promised to take the publication to court, saying, “We can even go to court if you like. (I’m currently in a fun fight with Gawker.)”

What Johnson wants: a public apology. He writes, “You can apologize and we can all go on our way in the vast, wide Internet.”

In a speech that sounds achingly like something Caitlyn Jenner might deliver, he tried to put himself in their shoes. He also injected some Taylor Swift for some balance.

“Look, I get it,” Johnson wrote. “You’re trying to unperson me because of my politics, because I’m a little different than you are, and because I’m consistently getting attention for my exposes even when I’m unjustly banned on Twitter. …Haters gotta hate, I guess.”

The Mirror sought comment from Washington Free Beacon. None was forthcoming by press time.

See the full letter after the jump…

Dear Sonny (and Michael and Matthew),

You write in your last piece the following libel in your piece claiming I support outing non-public figures personal lives. You also accuse me of having no ethics despite never interviewing me.

http://freebeacon.com/blog/your-average-redditor-has-more-scruples-than-your-average-gawker-editor/

Please point to one example ever of me exposing the personal life of a non-public figure. I’ll save you some time. I never have.

Look, I get it. You’re trying to unperson me because of my politics, because I’m a little different than you are, and because I’m consistently getting attention for my exposes even when I’m unjustly banned on Twitter. Even though we pretty much agree on all the major political questions, haters gotta hate, I guess.

I kind of like the stuff you write on comics and super hero Stick to that. It suits you.

The next letter I sent will be to Phil Anschutz and any other financial backers of the Washington Free Beacon my team and I can identify. We can even go to court if you’d like. (I’m currently in a fun court fight with Gawker right now.)

Or you can apologize and we can all go on our merry way in the great vast, wide Internet.

Charles C. Johnson