Kotaku staff respond to G/O Media’s insertion of “atrocious ads”

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An interesting situation has developed across the pond.

Several staff members at Kotaku’s US-based offices have taken to Twitter after a unique situation in which it and G/O Media websites pubished a post complaining of new “atrocious ads” that was eventually removed by the organisation’s board.

The post — which also featured on G/O Media sites including Gizmodo, Deadspin and Jezebel — highlighted “atrocious” auto-play ads that were appearing as a result of a “new private equity owner management team”. The posts were quickly removed by G/O Media’s executive, but not seemingly soon enough. VICE reports that the post lead readers to send 1,300 emails asking for the auto-play ads to be removed.

The various sites’ staff reacted to the removal of the post in various ways, but perhaps most notably Deadspin Deputy Editor, Barry Petchesky, permitted non-sports posts like “Three Good Dogs I Met” and “Check Out the Wheels on This Pumpkin Thief” to appear after a memo from G/O Media Editorial Director, Paul Maidment asked him to focus on sports and not “politics, pop culture, the arts, and the rest”.

Kotaku’s Jason Schreier, Stephen Totilo, Gita Jackson and Heather Alexandra took to Twitter afterward to comment on their working situations. Around the same time, Deadspin Deputy Editor, Barry Petchesky, confirmed he was fired “for not sticking to sports.”

Users of the NeoGAF forum have taken the tweets to mean the individuals were fired, while others (including this site) took the tweets to mean punitative measures were taken by the G/O Media board. Kotaku’s Jason Schreier has told Stevivor that “nobody at Kotaku has been reprimanded for anything.”

Since we first reported on this story, Deadspin’s Tom Ley, Laura Wagner, Lauren Theisen, Kelsey McKinney, Chris Thompson and Patrick Redford have all confirmed they’ve resigned in response to the termination of Barry Petchesky.

Locally, Kotaku Australia is not owned by G/O Media but by Pedestrian Group. It is not impacted by today’s events.

We originally reported that Kotaku staff were reprimanded for their actions. This was not the case, and we apologise for the mistake.