Gawker Media is facing internal revolt after its women's site Jezebel revealed on Monday that the company has failed to address a series of violent, rape-themed images that have been directed to its staff and readers.
In the post, which was titled "We Have a Rape Gif Problem and Gawker Media Won't Do Anything About It" and which was credited to the entire Jezebel team, the site's staff wrote that "an individual or individuals has been using anonymous, untraceable burner accounts to post gifs of violent pornography in the discussion section of stories on Jezebel" for months.
The staff added that Gawker executives have refused to block any IP addresses and have dragged their feet on taking other action to stem the flow of disturbing content from appearing in the Jezebel comments section.
Gawker's CEO, Nick Denton, has long placed an emphasis on making comments sections a high-profile, free-flowing part of his websites. But the Jezebel staff accused him of getting the balance wrong, writing, "In refusing to address the problem, Gawker's leadership is prioritizing theoretical anonymous tipsters over a very real and immediate threat to the mental health of Jezebel's staff and readers."
(The Huffington Post recently moved from a homegrown, moderated commenting system to the Facebook commenting platform.)
Joel Johnson, the editorial director of Gawker Media, admitted that he had not handled the situation well:
Re: Jezebel. 1. They rule. 2. I've dropped the ball and they're right to call me out. 3. I don't have a solution yet but that's my problem.
— Joel Johnson (@joeljohnson) August 11, 2014
Many people commended Jezebel for so publicly holding its bosses accountable:
— Jeremy C. Owens (@jowens510) August 11, 2014
— Chloe Angyal (@ChloeAngyal) August 11, 2014
— Julia Wong (@juliacarriew) August 11, 2014
Need help? In the U.S., visit the National Sexual Assault Online Hotline operated by RAINN. For more resources, visit the National Sexual Violence Resource Center's website.