BDG, the digital media conglomerate that owns brands like Elite Daily and Bustle, announced on Wednesday that it will cut 8% of its workforce and close the recently relaunched news and gossip website Gawker.
In an email to employees, chief executive Bryan Goldberg said the company is “facing a surprisingly difficult” first quarter of 2023 and had made the decision to “reprioritize” some of its investments that “better position the company for the direction we see the industry moving.”
Those changes, he said, would result in laying off 8% of the media company’s full-time staff.
“The most noticeable change you will see today is that BD will be suspending operations of Gawker,” Goldberg wrote. “We are proud of the site that [editor-in-chief Leah Finnegan] and her team built. Gawker published a lot of brilliant pieces in these nearly two years. But in this new reality, we have to prioritize our better monetized sites. It’s a business decision, and one that, reluctantly, must be made.”
Finnegan tweeted Wednesday morning that Gawker had “an incredible 1.5 years” but that “BDG has decided it is done with Gawker 2.0.”
“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. I had an absolute blast, and I love you,” Finnegan wrote.\
BDG acquired Gawker’s rights in a 2018 bankruptcy auction after the gossip website was forced to close due to a massive lawsuit filed by former wrestler Hulk Hogan. The website was officially relaunched by the company in the summer of 2021.
The media and technology sectors have taken a beating in recent months as advertisers cut back on spending amid economic uncertainty.
Layoffs have been widespread in the news industry. In recent months, CNN, NBC News, MSNBC, Vox Media, The Washington Post, BuzzFeed, Dotdash Meredith, Gannett, and other news organizations have reduced their workforces. Companies that have not laid off employees have taken significant steps to reduce spending.