Gawker may soon return from the dead.
While Univision acquired most of Gawker Media’s sites last year (and renamed them as the Gizmodo Media Group), the deal didn’t include Gawker itself. In fact, BuzzFeed reported last month that a bankruptcy administrator has not been able to find a buyer for the Gawker site, and that lawyers for Peter Thiel (the billionaire venture capitalist who helped fund the lawsuit that led to Gawker’s bankruptcy) were arguing that he’d been unfairly excluded from the process.
Now a group of former Gawker employees calling themselves the Gawker Foundation has launched a Kickstarter campaign to buy the old domain and relaunch with a nonprofit, membership-funded model.
That might seem like an odd fit for a site as gossipy and mean as Gawker could get, but the campaign notes that Gawker was among the first publications to write about figures like Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, Louis CK and others — often in the form of unsubstantiated rumor posts (for example, the post about Louis CK doesn’t identify him by name), but still:
Gawker was willing to chase stories that other outlets considered too risky or salacious. But the truth is often inconvenient, and Gawker’s work isn’t done. We want to dig deeper. By setting ourselves up as an ownerless, advertiser-less, non-profit media organization, the editorial team will be able to do what they do best.
Which employees are involved? They include founding editor Elisabeth Spiers and former ad executive James Del, but the campaign page says most of the dozen-plus Gawker alums are going unnamed for now because they have other jobs. Founder Nick Denton told Business Insider that he’s not involved.
As of 5pm Eastern, the campaign had raised around $29,000 of its $500,000 goal. The group says that if it doesn’t raise enough money to buy the old Gawker site it still plans to preserve the Gawker archives and launch a new publication: “We’re bringing this back whether we have the Gawker URL or not.”