It happens every day. In fact, it is pretty hard to avoid it. There are some things that can only be understood with a slap on the forehead. Things so mind-boggling that one wonders how humans managed to evolve thumbs while being this mentally inept. Case in point:
A former Gawker editor testifies that he would publish a sex video involving children as long as they are over the age of four.
A palpable sense of shock rippled through a courtroom here on Wednesday morning when the former editor in chief of Gawker.com was shown in a videotaped deposition suggesting that when it comes to the newsworthiness of celebrities’ sex videos, children more than 4 years old are fair game.
The former editor, Albert J. Daulerio, a defendant in an invasion-of-privacy lawsuit brought by the retired wrestler Hulk Hogan, made the comment under questioning by a plaintiff’s lawyer, who had asked him where he drew the line when it came to posting videos of people having sex.
“Can you imagine a situation where a celebrity sex tape would not be newsworthy?” asked the lawyer, Douglas E. Mirell.
“If they were a child,” Mr. Daulerio replied.
“Under what age?” the lawyer pressed.
It is rare that I am shocked by anyone’s statements. I realized years ago that people are more than willing to do horrible things and rationalize them. However, I was genuinely surprised by this remark. I would think an editor would have the sense not to say something like that aloud.
In fairness, Daulerio is no longer working for Gawker. Yet his response reveals precisely what is wrong with that company. That attitude is what led to the present case involving Hulk Hogan. He filed a lawsuit against Gawker for publishing a video of him having sex with a friend’s wife.
To further show how low Gawker is willing to go:
In addition, testimony this week by Mr. Daulerio and other current and former members of Gawker’s staff has raised a curtain on the culture of the website and others like it that traffic in salacious fare in an effort to gain readers.
Asked whether sex sells, Mr. Daulerio replied, “I’m sure.”
In such a culture, he went on, it was “pretty standard operating procedure” to seize upon and publish photographs and videos of celebrities in compromising or intimate situations, regardless of whether the celebrity might object or be embarrassed. Mr. Daulerio conceded that no such consideration guided Gawker’s publication of lewd images of the former Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre or of photographs of a topless Duchess of Cambridge.
“She’s a public figure, and those pictures were published elsewhere,” Mr. Daulerio said, referring to Prince William’s wife. He acknowledged that there had been no discussion in the Gawker newsroom at the time whether the publication of the pictures constituted an invasion of the former Kate Middleton’s privacy.
Daulerio further proved this point when asked about publishing the video featuring Hogan. He admitted that Gawker made no attempt to contact Hogan to confirm that it was actually Hogan in the video or to get his opinion about publishing the video. When asked directly:
“You didn’t really care, did you?” Mr. Mirell suggested.
“No,” Mr. Daulerio said.
A moment later, after an objection from a lawyer for Gawker, Mr. Mirell persisted. “So it’s fair to say that whether he suffered emotional distress or not, that played no part in your decision whether or what to publish,” he suggested.
“Correct,” Mr. Daulerio replied.
This is Gawker culture. This is the mentality guiding that site. The situation with Hogan is bad enough. Admitting that you would publish child porn is a completely different matter. One can easily see Gawker publishing the infamous R Kelly child abuse video in which the singer urinated on a 14-year-old girl.
Is the newsworthy? Yes, I think people should know what a famed singer has a proclivity for engaging in sexual fetishes with children.
Is it something that should be published? No, and no one should have to explain that. It should be obvious why it would be wrong to publish child pornography. Yet here we have a former Gawker editor saying he would have published child porn as long as the child was over the age of four. Worse, there is no reason to assume this is not still Gawker’s policy.