The Mirror

Nick Denton’s Nervous Breakdown Continues

Betsy Rothstein Gossip blogger

Gawker founder Nick Denton continues his bizarre quest to destroy his website from the inside out.

A couple proposals on the table: 1. Change the company’s name so it’s not Gawker Media. 2. Hire The Atlantic‘s senior correspondent Ta-Nehisi Coates, his “dream” choice for editor. Coates (pronounced Tah-Nuh-Hah-See) recently and inexplicably became God. No one is quite sure how that happened.

A thought from a Gawker Media insider: “He needs to stop talking.”

As first reported by CapitalNY‘s Peter Sterne, Gawker is relaunching itself next week, complete with a new workspace in Union Square. After the recent fiasco, he reports that Gawker is aiming to be 20 percent — no make that 10 to 15 percent — nicer than before. Denton initially went with 20 percent nicer, but brought that number down.

A nice Gawker? Is that even conceivable?

That would likely come as a huge shocker to Salon‘s Mary Elizabeth Williams, who wrote a first-person essay this week about how she was “slimed” by Gawker during the worst year of her life. Of course sympathy dims whenever someone acts like he or she is the only one with hard life things going on. Still, she says she can handle criticism. No, really. Just don’t run the picture of her that shows off her freckles from before she learned she was sick. Because what kind of sick and vicious human being would do that?

Denton held a meeting with staff Thursday and reportedly told them if they choose to walk, they’ll get severance pay.

He also told Digiday this week that he was seriously considering changing the site’s name.

“We don’t want Gawker.com to be limited by the needs of the company,” he said. “And there is a strong argument for a company name that is not the same as Gawker.com.”

It appears that Denton thinks he’s trying to save Gawker, which is battling a $100 million lawsuit from Hulk Hogan for running a 100-second video of him having a romp with Heather Clem, the wife of his friend, Bubba the Love Sponge. The jury trial, which has been delayed, is expected to begin later this year.

But Denton’s efforts come a little after the fact — perhaps 12 years late — after he killed a story on Condé Nast’s CFO that linked the married husband and father to a gay male escort.

The story was up for 24 hours before execs voted to give it the ax.