BDG Media Shutters Re-Launched Gawker and Lays off Staff

Gawker first shut down in 2016 after being sued by a professional wrestler and was revived in 2021.

Terry Bollea, aka Hulk Hogan, sits in court.
Terry Bollea, also known as Hulk Hogan, sued Gawker in 2016, which led to its first shuttering. Getty Images

BDG Media suspended Gawker, the celebrity and media blog, and laid off its staff today (Feb. 1), according to a memo by the CEO. The layoffs represent 8 percent of the total workforce of BDG, which also publishes Bustle.

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In the note to staff, Bryan Goldberg, chief executive of BDG, blamed the decision on a “difficult Q1 of 2023.” Over the past year, advertisers have pulled back their spending in anticipation of a recession, which has led to cost cuts and layoffs across the media industry. BDG is continuing to search for a buyer or liquidity partner, Axios reported.

Founded in 2002 as site of celebrity and media gossip, Gawker declared bankruptcy after losing a 2016 invasion of privacy law suit brought by professional wrestler Terry Gene Bollea, better known as Hulk Hogan. Bollea’s suit against the site was bankrolled by billionaire Peter Thiel, whom Gawker outed as gay in 2007. Goldberg purchased the site in 2018 and relaunched it in 2021.

“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,” said Leah Finnegan, Gawker’s editor in chief.

Gawker had 45 employees, according to LinkedIn.

BDG Media Shutters Re-Launched Gawker and Lays off Staff