Nicholas Guido Anthony Denton (born 24 August 1966)[1] is a British Internet entrepreneur, journalist, and blogger. He is the founder and former proprietor of the blog collective Gawker Media, and was the managing editor of the New York City-based Gawker, until a lawsuit by Terry Bollea (Hulk Hogan) bankrupted the company.[2]

Nick Denton
Denton in 2007
Born (1966-08-24) 24 August 1966 (age 57)
EducationUniversity College School, University College, Oxford
OccupationInternet entrepreneur
Known forfounder of Gawker Media and managing editor of Gawker

Early life edit

Denton grew up in Hampstead in London, the son of British economist Geoffrey Denton and his wife, Marika (née Marton), a Hungarian Jew who survived the Nazis during the Holocaust in Hungary and escaped the Soviet 1956 invasion of Hungary at age 18.[3][4][5] A psychotherapist, she died of cancer the year before her son moved to New York City. Denton has a younger sister, Rebecca.[6][7]

He was educated at University College School (UCS) and University College, Oxford, where Denton studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics. He also became the editor of the university's magazine, The Isis Magazine.[8]

Career edit

Denton in 2017

Denton began his career as a journalist with the Financial Times, a British daily business newspaper. He co-wrote a book about the collapse of Barings Bank, the oldest merchant bank in London, called All That Glitters (1996).[9][10][11]

He was a co-founder in 1998 of a social networking site, First Tuesday.[12][13] That same year Denton co-founded media-monitoring service Moreover Technologies with David Galbraith and Angus Bankes, schoolmates from UCS.[14][8][15] Shortly after, he moved to San Francisco in the United States, and in the summer of 2002 he moved to New York City.[15][13]

Gawker Media edit

Denton founded Gawker Media in 2002, initially running the company out of his apartment in New York City's SoHo, Manhattan.[16][8][17] Gawker Media initially had only two internet sites — Gawker (a news and gossip site) and Gizmodo (a gadgets and technology blog).[18] Gawker Media blogs expanded to include Jezebel (aimed at women), and Deadspin (a sports site), as well as Lifehacker (tips to live life better), Jalopnik (automotive culture), io9 (science, futurism, and science fiction), and Kotaku (video games and culture).[19][18] In 2008 Gawker sold music site Idolator to Buzz Media, Gridskipper to Curbed, and consumer affairs site Consumerist to Consumers Union.[20][21] In 2010, Gawker Media attracted 17.5 million US visitors per month.[4] Up until 2012, Denton paid himself a salary of $60,000 a year.[13]

Gawker had revenue of $48.7 million in 2015.[18] Most of its assets were sold to Univision for $135 million following the Bollea v. Gawker lawsuit loss and ensuing 2016 Chapter 11 bankruptcy.[13]

Controversies edit

Peter Thiel edit

In 2007, Denton's Valleywag editor Owen Thomas outed Silicon Valley billionaire businessman Peter Thiel as gay in a post entitled "Peter Thiel is totally gay, people."[22] In the comment section of Thomas's post, Denton speculated as to why Thiel kept "his personal life a secret from journalists... for so long." He named "a guy called Matt" as an alleged boyfriend. In response, Thiel called Valleywag the "Silicon Valley equivalent of Al Qaeda".[23] Thiel said the sites were "scar[ing] everybody" and stifling the culture of Silicon Valley, which is "supposed to be about people who are willing to think out loud and be different."[23]

It was later revealed in 2016 that Thiel had paid $10 million in legal expenses to finance several lawsuits brought by others against Denton and Gawker Media, including a lawsuit by Hulk Hogan.[24] Denton publicly blamed Thiel several times for having planned to take down[25][26][27]

Nouriel Roubini edit

Nouriel Roubini

In 2008, after Denton wrote a post labeling economist Nouriel Roubini a playboy who lived in a “vulva-" and "vagina-encrusted Tribeca loft", Roubini reacted by posting a message on Denton's Facebook page, accusing him of "Nazi-style anti-Semitism."[28][29] Roubini also called Denton an ignorant antisemite with a Nazi mind, a McCarthyist bigot, and a hypocrite, noted that Denton was gay, accused him of being a stalker, and added: “You are a loser and an intellectual dwarf who cannot engage me on my widely respected views on the economy … too bad [sic] was the first one that early on predicted in minute and precise details this most severe financial crisis.”[29]

When asked about the exchange by a reporter for The Guardian, the reporter said Roubini then "reprises the rant, embellishing it with references to the KGB, Denton's sexual orientation, and a sweary suggestion of what the man might do with himself, which he belatedly asks me not to quote.... the piece of art in question is described by Roubini as the work of a highly regarded feminist artist whom he won't name and which doesn't, he assures me, look anything like a vulva."[30] Denton for his part commented: "How can such a brilliant economist, at the height of his reputation, be quite so clueless?"[30]

Christine O'Donnell edit

On 28 October 2010, Denton published an anonymous kiss-and-tell piece entitled, "I Had a One-Night Stand with Christine O'Donnell". However, according to the writer, O'Donnell only slept naked with the anonymous writer, and did not have sex with him.[31] The National Organization for Women condemned the piece as "slut-shaming". NOW's president, Terry O'Neill, said, "It operates as public sexual harassment. And like all sexual harassment, it targets not only O'Donnell, but all women contemplating stepping into the public sphere."[32] Salon's Justin Elliott criticized the ad hominem nature of the article, tweeting "Today, we are all Christine O'Donnell."[33] reportedly paid in the "low four figures" for the story. Denton defended it, praising its "brilliant packaging."[34]

Hulk Hogan and bankruptcy edit

Hulk Hogan

On October 4, 2012, Gawker published an extract from a leaked sex tape of former professional wrestler Hulk Hogan. After Denton refused to comply with a cease-and-desist order from Hogan and a court injunction to remove the video, Hogan sued Gawker for violation of privacy. Billionaire Peter Thiel paid Hogan's legal team $10 million, as he was angry at Gawker for in an earlier story reporting that Thiel was gay.[35][36] On March 18, 2016, the jury found in favor of Hogan and awarded him $115 million, which included $55 million in compensatory damages and $60 million for emotional distress. On March 21, the jury awarded Hogan an additional $25 million in punitive damages, including $10 million from Denton personally.[37] Denton filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on August 1, 2016.[38] On March 22, 2017, Hogan and Denton reached a settlement that allowed Denton to emerge from personal bankruptcy.[39][40]

Personal life edit

Denton was featured in the Sunday Times Rich List 2007 in position #502, with an estimated wealth of £140 million based on the sale of his previous companies and the then-current value of Gawker Media.[41]

On 31 May 2014, Denton married actor Derrence Washington.[42][43] He lives in New York City.[8]

References edit

  1. ^ Sorkin, Andrew Ross (November 2003). "Building a Web Media Empire On a Daily Dose of Fresh Links". The New York Times. Retrieved 24 August 2007.
  2. ^ "Gawker Media to be put up for auction after bankruptcy filing". CNBC. 10 June 2016. Retrieved 10 June 2016.
  3. ^ Idov, Michael (22 September 2010). "The Most Powerful People in New York - How Gawker Media Head Nick Denton Made It by Casting Himself As an Outsider". New York Magazine.
  4. ^ a b Mookherji, Kalyani (January 2021). "50 Digital Revolutionaries of the World - Kalyani Mookherji - Google Books". Retrieved 2 March 2023.
  5. ^ NICK DENTON on Peter Thiel, Gawker, & bankruptcy, retrieved 14 November 2019
  6. ^ Idov, Michael (26 September 2010). "The Most Powerful People in New York - How Gawker Media Head Nick Denton Made It by Casting Himself As an Outsider". New York Magazine. Retrieved 28 June 2015.
  7. ^ Jay Rayner (9 March 2008). "The Brit dishing the dirt on America". The Guardian. London, UK. Retrieved 28 June 2015.
  8. ^ a b c d "Riptide". Riptide.
  9. ^ Gapper, John (1 December 2011). All that Glitters: The Fall of Barings - John Gapper - Google Books. Hamish Hamilton. ISBN 9780241137567. Retrieved 2 March 2023.
  10. ^ Gapper, John; Denton, Nick (1996). All That Glitters: The Fall of Barings. London: Hamish Hamilton. ISBN 978-0241136997.
  11. ^ "All That Glitters by John Gapper, Nicholas Denton: 9781101572757 | Books". Penguin Randomhouse.
  12. ^ "First Tuesday". Retrieved 28 June 2015.
  13. ^ a b c d "How Nick Denton led Gawker Media from his living room to its $135 million sale". Business Insider.
  14. ^ "". Archived from the original on 7 April 2011. Retrieved 28 June 2015.
  15. ^ a b Mookherji, Kalyani (21 June 2022). "FAMOUS INTERNET ENTREPRENEURS (Jeffrey Skoll + Christopher Poole + Nick ... - Kalyani Mookherji - Google Books". Retrieved 2 March 2023.
  16. ^ Mookherji, Kalyani (22 February 2022). "Nick Denton - Kalyani Mookherji - Google Books". Retrieved 2 March 2023.
  17. ^ "Search And Destroy". The New Yorker. 11 October 2010.
  18. ^ a b c Ember, Sydney (16 August 2016). "Gawker Is Said to Be Sold to Univision in a $135 Million Bid". The New York Times – via
  19. ^ Yarow, Jay. "Gawker reports earnings!". Business Insider.
  20. ^ Calderone, Michael (14 April 2008). "Breaking: Gawker Media selling Wonkette blog; spinning off three sites". Politico. Capitol News Company LLC. Archived from the original on 2 June 2016. Retrieved 9 April 2016.
  21. ^ Clifford, Stephanie (31 December 2008). "Consumers Union to Buy Gawker Blog Consumerist". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 15 October 2012. Retrieved 24 February 2012.
  22. ^ Thomas, Owen (19 December 2007). "Peter Thiel is totally gay, people". Archived from the original on 18 July 2010. Retrieved 28 June 2015.
  23. ^ a b Frommer, Dan (18 May 2009). "Peter Thiel Says Valleywag Is 'Silicon Valley Equivalent Of Al Qaeda'". Business Insider. Retrieved 28 June 2015.
  24. ^ Sorkin, Andrew Ross (25 May 2016). "Peter Thiel, Tech Billionaire, Reveals Secret War With Gawker". The New York Times. Retrieved 2 July 2020.
  25. ^ Denton, Nick (22 August 2016). "How Things Work". Gawker. Retrieved 2 July 2020.
  26. ^ Scocca, Tom (22 August 2016). "Gawker Was Murdered by Gaslight". Gawker. Retrieved 2 July 2020.
  27. ^ Luscombe, Belinda (22 June 2016). "Gawker Founder Nick Denton on Peter Thiel, 'Conflict and Trollery' and the Future of Media". Time. Retrieved 2 July 2020.
  28. ^ Alice Gomstyn (November 5, 2008). "The Man Who Saw It Coming: Meet Dr. Doom," ABC News.
  29. ^ a b Nick Denton (October 16, 2008). "'Nick Denton Is An Anti-Semite With A Nazi Mind,'" Gawker.
  30. ^ a b Emma Brockes (January 23, 2009). "He told us so," The Guardian.
  31. ^ Anonymous (28 October 2010). "I Had a One-Night Stand With Christine O'Donnell". Archived from the original on 29 August 2013. Retrieved 28 June 2015.
  32. ^ "NOW to Media: Stop Reducing Women Candidates to Sex Objects". 28 October 2010. Archived from the original on 11 October 2013. Retrieved 28 June 2015.
  33. ^ "Twitter / elliottjustin: Today, we are all Christine O'Donnell". Retrieved 28 June 2015.
  34. ^ Choire Sicha (28 October 2010). "Gawker Honcho: "Writers are Successful to the Extent That They Can Sublimate Their Egotism"". The Awl. Retrieved 28 June 2015.
  35. ^ Heing, Bridey (15 July 2018). Critical Perspectives on Freedom of the Press and Threats to Journalists - Google Books. Enslow Publishing, LLC. ISBN 9780766098541. Retrieved 2 March 2023.
  36. ^ Lee, William E.; Stewart, Daxton; Peters, Jonathan (20 July 2020). The Law of Public Communication, 11th Edition - William E. Lee, Daxton Stewart, Jonathan Peters - Google Books. Routledge. ISBN 9781000080407. Retrieved 2 March 2023.
  37. ^ "Gawker hit with additional $25m in damages over Hulk Hogan lawsuit". The Guardian. 21 March 2016. Retrieved 22 March 2016.
  38. ^ Sterne, Peter (1 August 2016). "Gawker founder Nick Denton to file for bankruptcy". Politico. Retrieved 1 August 2016.
  39. ^ Roberts, Jeff John (23 March 2017). "Gawker's Nick Denton Is Set to Exit Bankruptcy". Fortune. Archived from the original on 1 November 2020. Retrieved 14 August 2021.
  40. ^ "Denton Settlement". Scribd. Archived from the original on 28 July 2020. Retrieved 14 August 2021.
  41. ^ McGrath, Ben (18 October 2010). "Nick Denton, Gawker Media, and journalism's future". The New Yorker. Retrieved 28 June 2015.
  42. ^ Sohn, Amy (6 June 2014). "Two Paths to the Same Destination". The New York Times – via
  43. ^ O'Shea, Chris (16 January 2014). "Nick Denton to marry in May". Fishbowl NY. Archived from the original on 5 October 2014. Retrieved 28 June 2015.

External links edit