G/O Media

G/O Media

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G/O Media is a publishing company that manages news websites and blogs Gizmodo, Kotaku, Deadspin, Jezebel, The Onion, Jalopnik, AV Club and several others. The company, a subsidiary of Great Hill Partners investment group, was formed in April 2019 to manage the websites following their acquisition from Univision. In late October 2019, the company gained notoriety online due to the firing of a Deadspin employee which followed the websites putting up a blog article about sound-on autoplay ads.


On April 8th, 2019, investment company Great Hill Partners announced that it acquired Gizmodo Media Group from Univision Communications.[1] The deal saw websites formerly comprising the Group, including Gizmodo, Kotaku, Deadspin, Jezebel, The Onion, AV Club and several others, being transitioned under the management of the group company G/O Media (company logo shown below), a subsidiary of Great Hill Partners. It was also revealed that G/O Media was headed by former CEO of Forbes.com James Spanfeller.


October 2019 Editorial Conflict

On October 28th, 2019, Deadspin, Kotaku and other websites owned by the group posted blog article titled "A Note to Our Readers,"[2][3] in which the editors of the writers, editors and video producers of the websites expressed concerns about a seven-figure advertising deal reached by G/O Media which led to an increased among of auto-play advertisements on the websites, urging the readers to submit feedback about the user experience to G/O Media's senior leadership team.

We have received a great deal of feedback from you, our readers, about the sound-on autoplay videos that have been inundating our sites. We want you to know that we hear you, that we take those complaints seriously, and that we, the writers, editors, and video producers of Deadspin, are as upset with the current state of our site’s user experience as you are.

Within several hours, the blog articles were deleted by the G/O Media management team without consent from the website editorial teams, violating the Gizmodo Media Group's union contract,[4] with the G/O Media management also closing their e-mail account.[5]

On the same day, G/O Media editorial director Paul Maidment sent a memo to the Deadspin staff in which he insisted that the website, which primary focus is sports but which also publishes articles about media, politics and culture, should be covering sports stories exclusively. On the same day, Daily Beast reported about the blog article and the memo.[6]

To create as much great sports journalism as we can requires a 100% focus of our resources on sports. And it will be the sole focus,” Maidment said. “Deadspin will write only about sports and that which is relevant to sports in some way.

On October 29th, 2019, Deadspin deputy editor Barry Petchesky was fired by the company due to his disagreement with the memo (tweet shown below, left).[7] In the following hours, several employees of Deadspin, Kotaku and their sister websites expressed displeasure with the G/O Media actions on social media, with many editors also changing their profile pictures to the Gizmodo Media Group Union logo (tweet collection shown below, right).[8][9]

Barry Petchesky @barry Hi! I've just been fired from Deadspin for not sticking to sports 9:54 AM - 29 Oct 2019 Gita Jackson, Mrs. Dr. Caspar Darling @xoxogossipgita Cecilia D'Anastasio @cecianasta 1h F messages of solidarity are heartening. thank you. there is a lot of work yet to be done. 16 83 taCecilia D'Anastasio Retweeted Barry Petchesky @barry 2h Hil I've just been fired from Deadspin for not sticking to sports. 7:13 PM-Oct 29, 2019 Twitter Web App 3.1K 16.5K ta 3.5K 9 Retweets 351 Likes Cecilia D'Anastasio @cecianasta Follow ta senior reporter @kotaku, chaotic/neutral. tips: cecilia lat] kotaku Idot] com, discord: Cecianasta#9946 Gita Jackson, Mrs. Dr. Caspar Darling @xoxogossipgita 17m Replying to xoxogossipgita kotaku forever 117 Gita Jackson, Mrs. D... @xoxogossipgita Follow Jason Schreier @jasonschreier staff writer @kotaku//gitajackson at kotaku dot com//avi by @kamiveicht I don't know what's going to happen next, but to everyone who has read and supported our work at Kotaku over the years, thank you 7:13 PM- Oct 29, 2019- Twitter Web App Heather Alexandra Follow @transgamerthink 2writer and critic @kotaku | tips: heather DOT alexandra AT kotaku DOT 299 Retweets 4.2K Likes coml DMs currently open | hair's really more of an silver than white thanks Maddy Myers MIDimyers 2h extremely f----- up day Heather Alexandra @transgamerthink Spooked Pumpkin @LukePlunkett Follow ta 1 7 I worked at Gawker and I thought that was a pretty Kotaku Senior Editor, creator of The good thing 6:54 PM Oct 29, 2019 Twitter Web App Maddy Myers @MIDImyers Great Air Race, author of Cosplay World. Warning: there will be sports tweets. plunkett@kotaku.com Follow managing editor@Kotaku & splitscreen co-hos @Thet Spooked Pumpkin LukePlunkett 1 Retweet 95 Likes musici dot m pretty telling how when i started in this job i would drown in emails from people asking how to get into this line of work. Heather Alexandra @transgamerthink 56m Replying to @transgamerthink It's fair to say that we operate with the understand that sports, games or anything else exist within contexts of politics and culture now im lucky if i get one every six months, and that includes tweets. It's not particularly possible to talk about these things without talking about the they're made in and the messages they impart 1 t 8 100 6:04 AM Oct 29, 2019 TweetDeck

The tweets about the firing and the ongoing conflict between the Gizmodo Media Group Union and the G/O Media prompted rumors that Kotaku and some of its sister websites may be closing, with Kotaku editor Jason Schreier later clarifying that the website will continue to work.[10]

The rumors prompted a number of users on Twitter, Reddit, 4chan and other website to post memes about the websites experiencing difficulties, with some users celebrating the news (examples shown below).

TSmuggy @Smug_Legend >Kotaku is going out of business GIF 12:35 PM - 29 Oct 2019 Hiecchi @Hi3cchi Everyone is celebrating that @Kotaku is finally dead, but i think this will be a big loss for us all Why? Because i will miss their dumb takes which made me so many times laugh Sadly i can wish them any good luck in their future, bc all their writers blocked me X_X 12:42 PM - 29 Oct 2019 Shirrako @ShirrakoGaming Kotaku going out of business. A victory for real journalism. Get woke, go broke. GIF 1:03 PM - 29 Oct 2019

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