This is a story about a young manlet who crucified a woman for a Twitter joke and then cyber-stalked her in the most creep-tastic voyeuristic way possible and then decided to make an offensive “Twitter joke” himself.
If you want the short version of the story, it’s this: he didn’t suffer the same fate as his victim. In fact, he’s been praised and supported by his employer with the same kind of fervor that his African female victim was persecuted and terminated by hers. Why? Because he’s not a woman from Africa. He’s Sam Faulkner Biddle, and he works for Gawker.
Imagine, for a moment, that there was a company out there staffed almost entirely by young, vaguely attractive white people from good schools. Imagine that they relentlessly excluded people of color, the disabled, and the merely ugly or fat from employment among them. Imagine that they threw parties where they basically got together and celebrated being rich, white, young, attractive, and from privileged backgrounds. Imagine, further, that the company was deliberately and systematically hiding millions of tax dollars in revenue from the United States every year, under the guise of being a “holding company”.
Now, imagine that their employees had attacked people for little to no reason in ways that caused them to lose their jobs, had attempted to drive a high school girl to suicide, had railed in public about “hood men”, and had encouraged the bullying of at-risk children during National Bullying Awareness Month.
What do you imagine that Gawker.com or Valleywag would have to say about that company?
Very little — because Gawker is that company. This privileged coterie of spoiled white brats has done all of the above, and more. Gawker itself is a series of tax-dodging shell companies that shamelessly reap the benefits of every American public institution from the Internet to the NYC subways while criticizing other firms for the same behavior. Their employees have relentlessly attacked, shamed, doxxed, and harassed whatever target happened to briefly attract their capricious and destructive behavior until the targets of their venom have lost their jobs, lost their families, lost their homes, and, in the case of one troubled young woman, attempted to take her own life.
It grieves me beyond what I can adequately express that Jalopnik is part of the Gawker umbrella. I know that the Jalop crew is mostly composed of the most decent and likable people you can imagine. I would never in a million years expect Jason Torchinsky to try to drive someone to suicide, nor would I expect Matt Hardigree to kick people while they are down. (In my case, that was literal: although many of the Jalop readers could not contain their orgasmic joy at the January 2014 car accident that could have taken my son’s life and left my passenger with permanent complications, the site itself was very kind.) Jalopnik is approximately as responsible for the depraved actions of their corporate cousins as I am for my cousin Kate’s selection to the Greek Olympic women’s soccer team a while back. I’ve written for Jalopnik in the past and given the chance I would write something for them again. They’re good people.
Maybe if Gawker let Patrick George or Raphael Orlove run “Valleywag” they’d get content that was insightful, decent, and funny. Instead, they have Sam Biddle, a Little Lord Fauntleroy doppleganger who awkwardly lip-syncs the “N word” in an attempt to attract the attention of two paid booth models then turns around and hounds actual Africans like Justine Sacco into an early career grave. He’s the star attraction in Gawker’s panoply of bullies:
Gawker’s unapologetic “apology” for Biddle’s behavior indicated that, since it was only a joke, the Tweets should not cause anyone offense. But wasn’t Justine Sacco’s famous Tweet, the Tweet that ruined her stellar career, a joke? And wasn’t Sam Biddle the person who “found” the Tweet and made harassing her his life’s work?
So if Justine Sacco and Sam Biddle do exactly the same thing on exactly the same social media platform, why does Justine lose her job while Sam luxuriates in the protective arms of his bosses at Gawker?
Is it because Justine was born in South Africa?
Is it because Justine is a woman?
Is it because Sam Biddle’s parents are “better” than Justine’s South African parents?
Or is it just that Gawker has finally discovered that white male privilege about which they’ve been bleating for years — the racist, sexist, bullying, spoiled, contemptuous, tone-deaf, insensitive, evil cabal of white men who control everything and cannot be touched no matter what they do or whom they hurt?
Is it because Gawker has found those people in their own office-bathroom mirrors?