Everyone's talking about a story that Gawker published, then removed
. The story concerned text messages between the CFO of Conde Nast, David Geithner (brother of Timmy) and a male escort
called "Ryan." (I mention the client's name only because Talking Points Memo decided to publish it.) It appears that the escort made the texts available to Gawker out of spite, because he had asked Geithner for a favor and Geithner refused. This situation reeks of blackmail, or something unnervingly close to blackmail.
Geithner denies knowing the man at all.
The executive denied texting with Ryan in a statement to Gawker.
"I don’t know who this individual is. This is a shakedown," he said. "I have never had a text exchange with this individual. He clearly has an ulterior motive that has nothing to do with me."
Prominent journalists, several of whom are openly gay, assailed Gawker for "gay-shaming" the executive and accused the website of helping Ryan blackmail him...
Had I been a Gawker editor, I would have argued against running such a story. That said, let us ask ourselves: Would there have been an outcry if the escort were female? Would the story have been removed if the escort were female?
Compare the current Gawker imbroglio to the way the press covered the case of Eliot Spitzer. Do we now live in a culture in which "hooker-shaming" is unacceptable if
the hooker in question has a penis, but acceptable if the hooker has a vagina?
Of course, there's one important difference between the two cases. Spitzer was a public official
while the CFO of Conde Nast barely qualifies as a public figure
In the final analysis, I don't think that Gawker should have run such a tawdry story in the first place, and I'm glad that it was pulled. All I ask is that the same standards apply to situations involving heterosexuals.