Photo: Courtesy of Jezebel.
Jezebel has never been shy about tackling controversial topics, but earlier today we were surprised to see the website publicly boldly calling out its parent company, Gawker Media, and for an extremely disturbing reason: Anonymous and untraceable burner accounts have recently been posting GIFs featuring violent, rape-themed pornography in the comments section on stories, and apparently it's up to staffers to manually remove each of the unsettling images one by one — a process which they describe as "playing whack-a-mole with a sociopathic Hydra."
The staff of Jezebel posted a gutsy open letter in response to the nightmarish situation, begging their bosses to do something about what has become a horrible work environment. (Unfortunately, moderating images of rape and violence involves looking at images of rape and violence... and isn't typically part of any job description.)
"None of us are paid enough to deal with this on a daily basis," they write. "In refusing to address the problem, Gawker's leadership is prioritizing theoretical anonymous tipsters over a very real and immediate threat to the mental health of Jezebel's staff and readers. If this were happening at another website, if another workplace was essentially requiring its female employees to manage a malevolent human pornbot, we'd report the hell out of it here and cite it as another example of employers failing to take the safety of its female employees seriously. But it's happening to us. It's been happening to us for months. And it feels hypocritical to continue to remain silent about it."
We're glad that staffers are speaking up for themselves, and we hope that now that they've made their complaint public — on their employer's own website no less! — the higher-ups at Gawker finally move coming up with a solution to the top of their to-do list. Because really, what do they stand to gain by continuing to allow Jezebel's staff, not to mention its readers, to be tormented by anonymous trolls?