Dayna Evans is a writer and musician based in New York City, most notably employed by Gawker Media. Recently, through her position at Gawker, she led a campaign to get Vice co-founder Gavin McInnes fired from his job at advertising agency Rooster because of an article on transsexuals he wrote for Thought Catalog. Because of Evans’ efforts, McInnes has been forced to take a leave of absence from Rooster and his original Thought Catalog article now comes with a warning that it contains “hateful or abusive content.” Evans’ actions both in regards to McInnes and her prior writing for Gawker seriously call her judgment and integrity into question.
Gawker Media’s Misogyny Problem
Mere days before Dayna Evans posted her attack piece on McInnes, it was revealed that Gawker’s sister site Jezebel had been suffering an influx of trolls from 4chan who were posting pictures of rape porn and other disgusting shock images in the comments. Despite constant complaints from Jezebel’s female staffers—indeed, 4chan’s trolling was called “a very real and immediate threat to the mental health of Jezebel’s staff and readers”—administrators at Gawker Media had steadfastly refused to do anything about the problem for months. Jezebel’s writers eventually became so frustrated that they posted an open letter on their site begging Nick Denton, Gawker Media’s head, to do something:
This practice is profoundly upsetting to our commenters who have the misfortune of starting their day with some excessively violent images, to casual readers who drop by to skim Jezebel with their morning coffee only to see hard core pornography at the bottom of a post about Michelle Obama, and especially to the staff, who are the only ones capable of removing the comments and are thus, by default, now required to view and interact with violent pornography and gore as part of our jobs.
Indeed, if Jezebel’s staffers wanted to, they could very easily sue Gawker Media under state and federal laws prohibiting workplace harassment. By allowing trolls to post horrifying images on the site, Denton and Gawker’s leadership was deliberately creating a hostile work environment for their women staffers. Gawker Media deliberately dragged their feet on dealing with 4chan’s trolling for the questionable reason that re-designing their sites’ commenting systems, created to enable whistleblowers to leave anonymous tips under “burner” accounts, would deprive the company of juicy stories. In this, Gawker and Nick Denton have proven that they care more about profit than the well-being of the women who write for them.
Dayna Evans: Accessory to Sexist Workplace Harassment
It is almost certain that Dayna Evans knew about the repulsive images that her Jezebel colleagues had to deal with on a daily basis: Gawker Media editorial director Joel Johnson has admitted that 4chan’s trolling was common knowledge around the company’s offices. Yet despite this, she chose to stand by and do nothing as her friends were assaulted by violent imagery that by their own admission “impact[ed] [their] ability to do [their] jobs.” Arguably Evans helped make the trolling problem worse by continuing to write for Gawker, a website that profits off of the misery of its female employees, instead of taking a principled stand and quitting.
Thus we come to the conclusion: Dayna Evans has no problem attempting to destroy Gavin McInnes’ livelihood for no other reason than because she disagrees with his opinions, but when it comes to the very real bigoted, misogynistic work environment her colleagues were forced to endure, she has nothing to say. Her convictions about “tolerance” only last so long as they don’t threaten her paycheck. In this, she has proven herself to be a monumental hypocrite devoid of morals and values.
It goes without saying that people or organizations who advocate certain values should also adhere to those same values. As Nick Denton himself put it, “hypocrisy is the only modern sin.” Gawker Media has become one of the most powerful media organs in the world through their unapologetic excoriations of other media figures for “racism,” “misogyny,” “transphobia” and other similar sins. Yet when it comes to their own operations, Gawker is willing to let anonymous trolls intimidate their female employees to the point of mental breakdown, only relenting when the staff of one of their websites openly revolted.
The joke here is that if another website or company allowed 4chan to harass their women staffers, Dayna Evans would have no problem lambasting them. As it stands, by allowing her Jezebel colleagues to suffer at the hands of trolls for months, Evans has shown herself to have no integrity as a journalist or as a human being. It is clear that she will say and do anything to make money and bolster her own career, including smearing people for the “crime” of advocating viewpoints she disagrees with. Any company looking to hire Evans should think twice before employing someone so clearly lacking in ethics.
(Full disclaimer: Gavin McInnes and I are both contributors to Taki’s Magazine, but I have no association with him beyond this.)