BDG shuts down Gawker and lays off 8% of staff, CEO announces

The digital media conglomerate BDG, which houses brands such as Elite Daily and Bustle, announced on Wednesday that it will slash its workforce by 8% and shutter the recently relaunched news and gossip website Gawker.

In an email to employees, chief executive Bryan Goldberg said the company is “facing a surprisingly difficult” first quarter of 2023 and had made the decision to “reprioritize” some of its investments that “better position the company for the direction we see the industry moving.”

Those changes, he said, would result in laying off 8% of the media company’s full-time staff.

“The most noticeable change you will see today is that BD will be suspending operations of Gawker,” Goldberg wrote. “We are proud of the site that [editor-in-chief Leah Finnegan] and her team built. Gawker published a lot of brilliant pieces in these nearly two years. But in this new reality, we have to prioritize our better monetized sites. It’s a business decision, and one that, reluctantly, must be made.”

Finnegan tweeted Wednesday morning that Gawker had “an incredible 1.5 years” but that “BDG has decided it is done with Gawker 2.0.”

“Can’t say enough about how proud I am of the site and all the brilliant people who worked to create it, and what a staggering shame this is. I had an absolute blast, and I love you,” Finnegan wrote.

BDG purchased the rights to Gawker in a 2018 bankruptcy auction after the gossip website was forced to shut down after losing a massive lawsuit from former wrestler Hulk Hogan. The company officially relaunched the website in the summer of 2021.

In recent months, the media and technology sectors have taken a battering as advertisers tighten spending amid economic uncertainty.

Across the news industry, layoffs have been rampant. CNN, NBC News, MSNBC, Vox Media, The Washington Post, BuzzFeed, Dotdash Meredith, Gannett and other news organizations have cut their workforces in recent months. And companies that haven’t laid off staffers have taken strong measures to reduce spending.

Technology companies Google, Meta, Amazon, Spotify, and Microsoft have announced layoffs in recent months.

And Entertainment giants, such as Warner Bros. Discovery (CNN’s parent company) and Paramount Global, have also trimmed their workforces.

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