UPDATED with comment from Bustle
Gawker is poised to make a comeback next year, according to published reports. The gossip site, which was sued into bankruptcy two years ago by Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel, was acquired by the founder of Bustle Digital Media, Bryan Goldberg.
In a memo obtained by Variety, Goldberg outlined his plans for bringing back the blog in the first half of 2019.
“We won’t recreate Gawker exactly as it was, but we will build upon Gawker’s legacy and triumphs — and learn from its missteps. In so doing, we aim to create something new, vibrant, highly relevant, and worth visiting daily,” Goldberg wrote in a memo to the Bustle Digital Media staff.
Goldberg said he hired Amanda Hale, the former chief revenue officer of The Outline, as Gawker’s new publisher. No word yet on editorial hires or what will become of Gawker’s archive of some 200,000 articles which were acquired through bankruptcy court.
A Bustle spokesperson confirmed Hale has been hired as the first Gawker employee ,where she will lead the site in anticipation of an early 2019 launch. She will be responsible for building out the sales and marketing teams, and developing the overall strategy for the brand. Her first project will be to solidify a plan to ensure the Gawker archives have a safe and permanent home.
Gawker ceased publication in August 2016. It was the casualty of a lawsuit brought by Hulk Hogan, who was embarrassed by the publication of a leaked video of the wrestler having sex with an ex-friend’s wife (it appeared under the headline “Even for a Minute, Watching Hulk Hogan Have Sex in a Canopy Bed is Not Safe For Work but Watch it Anyway”).
Thiel, who was outed as gay by one of Gawker’s now-defunct blogs, Valleywag, secretly bankrolled an invasion of privacy suit against Gawker Media. A jury awarded the wrestler $140 million in damages, prompting Gawker Media to file for bankruptcy and sell six of its websites to Univision for $135 million (oddly enough, Univision is looking to unload the these sites).
A holding company owned and managed by Goldberg, BDG GMCI Acquisition, acquired Gawker’s archive and the Gawker.com site about two months ago. It’s separate from Bustle Digital Group’s other online publications, which target a mostly female millennial reader with such publications as Romper, Elite Daily, The Zoe Report and the eponymous Bustle.
“Gawker will be completely distinct from our other properties and sit within a separate corporate subsidiary,” Goldberg wrote. “That said, it will have access to our shared resources, technology, and business platform.”