Gawker's return has conservatives wondering: Could Peter Thiel have aided right-wing media more?

One right-wing YouTuber suggested that following his Gawker victory, Thiel could've invested in right-wing media

Published July 29, 2021 6:38PM (EDT)

Peter Thiel (Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)
Peter Thiel (Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)

The infamous news and gossip site Gawker is back. 

Yet the blog's stealthy Wednesday relaunch has right-wing pundits wondering if there was more PayPal founder and billionaire Peter Thiel could've done to advance conservative media after kneecapping the publication through his backing of Hulk Hogan's sex tape lawsuit.

On Wednesday night, right-wing YouTuber Tim Pool took numerous swipes at Thiel, who has already donated millions to Republicans ahead of the 2022 midterms, including Ohio Senate hopeful J.D. Vance

"I don't think Peter Thiel is paying attention all that much," Pool said on his "Timcast IRL" program. "But I mean, I'm talking about the culture war, and what's happening with kids and critical race applied principles. Like, the dude could snap his fingers and create a functioning news outlet."

"He nukes Gawker, and now there's," Pool continued, before his guest, the Pizzagate conspiracy theorist Jack Posobiec, interjected, "and now Gawker is back."

Pool argued that the billionaire GOP mega-donor could've done a lot more to advance right-wing media after garnering a successful judgment against Gawker. 

"He's the guy, man, he went after Gawker, he was like 'we're not going to play this fake news game.' He could snap his fingers and create ten new independent outlets that did real journalism," Pool said, while adding that he's surprised that wealthy conservatives he knows aren't funding right-wing media ventures.

Thiel didn't respond to a Salon request for comment about Pool's remarks or Gawker's relaunch. 

Other conservatives on the internet largely dismissed Gawker's return. A few mocked the outlet, which had been a consistent lightning rod for conservative ire in the pre-Trump era. 

Right-wing writer Ian Miles Cheong wrote, "Go away," while other conservatives poked fun at the site. NewsBuster's Dan Gainor responded to Gawker's "we're back" tweet with the jab, "just like Covid." Countless other Twitter users tagged Hogan and Thiel, pointing out that the site had returned to the wild west of the internet.

Gawker made its return after being scooped up by Bustle Digital Group in 2018 at a bankruptcy auction. In 2016, Gawker Media Group was sued into insolvency by Hulk Hogan after the outlet posted his sex tape. Theil backed the lawsuit to the tune of $10 million, in large part due to a longstanding beef with the site after it outed him as gay in 2007.

Gawker's newly appointed editor-in-chief Leah Finnegan told readers that the publication's mission going forward would "honor the past and embrace the present."

"We are here to make you laugh, I hope, and think, and do a spit-take or furrow your brow, or maybe go 'huh!' or 'wow!' or 'damn!' or 'what the f*ck?' or 'I'm glad someone finally said it!'" she added in a letter posted to the site Wednesday morning. 

By Zachary Petrizzo

Zachary Petrizzo was an investigative reporter at Salon. Follow him on Twitter @ZTPetrizzo.

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Gawker Hulk Hogan J.d. Vance Media Peter Thiel Politics Reporting Tim Pool