Kotaku and other former Gawker properties are fighting back against their new parent company, G/O Media, over disruptive decisions being made across the sites. Following pushback from the sites operating under the Gizmodo Media Group umbrella, G/O Media has now reportedly fired Deadspin‘s long-serving Deputy Editor Barry Petchesky.
After Gawker’s bankruptcy, the remaining sites that operated under it formed the Gizmodo Media Group, which was sold to the private equity firm Great Hill Partners in early 2019. The firm combined GMG with The Onion, creating the new company G/O Media.
This past week various editors and writers within GMG spoke out against the advertisements being displayed on their sites greenlit by G/O Media. Each site posted a call-to-arms for their readers, encouraging them to email G/O Media if they disapproved of the ads, in the hope of improving the user experience. The posts were reportedly deleted by G/O Media, and after those involved became more vocal online, Petchesky was allegedly fired.
GMG’s union tweeted that the firing of Petchesky “would not stand,” and that it would provide updates soon:
Earlier today, @JimSpanfeller, CEO of G/O Media, fired our colleague and longtime Deadspin Deputy Editor Barry Petchesky. This will not stand. We will have updates soon.
— GMG Union (@gmgunion) October 29, 2019
Barry Petchesky claimed that the reasoning for his dismissal was due to him “not sticking to sports”:
Hi! I’ve just been fired from Deadspin for not sticking to sports.
— Barry Petchesky (@barry) October 29, 2019
Deadspin had previously pushed back against G/O Media due to a memo from their management reportedly encouraging them to “stick to sports.” Deadspin, known for its coverage of politics and culture, openly mocked and criticized this directive on the site.
But while Deadspin’s issues with G/O Media have been well-documented, Kotaku has stayed out of the spotlight in this regard, until today.
“It’s been a tiring day for more reasons than one,” tweeted Editor-in-Chief Stephen Totilo. “Thank you to everyone who has stuck with Kotaku through thick and thin. Your support means the world to me and the team, and we will continue to do the best job we can to make the site ever better.”
“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,” tweeted News Editor Jason Schreier.
G/O Media has yet to release an official statement regarding its termination of Petchesky.