Univision, which bought seven Gawker Media sites (but not Gawker.com itself) last month, is unpublishing six posts to protect any legal claims against the company.
Gawker Media site Gizmodo reported that Univision executives Felipe Holguin and Jay Grant out-voted to delete the six stories (Gawker Media executive editor John Cook voted against). Gawker Media’s collective bargaining agreement requires a vote of the three before any story is removed, according to a memo from Cook published by Gizmodo. Holguin is the interim CEO of Gawker Media and Grant is the interim general counsel.
Two of the stories were published on Gizmodo, one was on Jezebel and three were on Deadspin.
As of mid-day Sept. 10, they had all been removed and replaced with notes reading: “This story is no longer available as it is the subject of pending litigation against the prior owners of this site.”
Two of the articles about former Major League Baseball pitcher Mitch Williams have the same note with an additional sentence reading: “While the case against the prior owners was dismissed, the decision may be appealed.” iMediaEthics reported earlier this year when the case was dismissed.
“I communicated to Felipe and Jay in the strongest terms that deleting these posts is a mistake, and that disappearing true posts about public figures simply because they have been targeted by a lawyer who conspired with a vindictive billionaire to destroy this company is an affront to the very editorial ethos that has made us successful enough to be worth acquiring,” Cook wrote in his memo.
Cook noted that Univision said it wanted to remove the posts to prevent any legal action against the posts for “continued publication,” but that Univision would stand by Gawker Media journalism moving forward.
Univision told iMediaEthics by e-mail in a statement, “Following our acquisition of assets from Gawker Media, we have decided to take down select articles that are the subject of pending litigation against the prior owners. At this time of transition, the decision was based on a desire to have a clean slate as we look to support and grow the editorial missions of the acquired brands.”
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The three are still deciding on removal of a blogpost that is “the target of a copyright complaint.”