Andrew Krucoff, beloved former-Gothamist interviewer, media maven and dark-horse candidate for the Media Bistro editor's job, was just fired from his research job at Conde Nast. His crime? Conde's servers went down last week, and Kru leaked the tech email to Gawker. They report:
Andrew Krucoff, the well-known blogger whom we often jokingly — lovingly, even, we’d say — refer to as Gawker’s mascot, has worked as a freelance research analyst at Conde Nast for the last four months. He’s good at what he does, and his bosses were very pleased with his work. (We know, because his immediate supervisor regularly told us.) Last week, while emailing with us on a totally unrelated matter, he forwarded along an internal notice that Conde’s internet servers were down — just to explain why he’d disappeared from instant messenger. We posted that memo, made a little joke about how our traffic would likely fall and VF staffers would have a harder time killing time. We did not first ask Andrew for his OK, because we didn’t think something so inconsequential would be a big.
Gawker also has Krucoff's explanation of what happened, in his own words:
I only forwarded the “damaging” memo to jesse from my conde nast email address (which i rarely use outside of work) because our web-access was down but company email was still functioning and i needed to tell him something about edits to the heeb magazine piece I submitted to gawker. the internal memo was not intended as a “tip” but an fyi as to why i wasn’t online. as soon as i saw it posted on gawker i feared the worst and hoped it would blow over. (jesse can attest to this.)
And Krucoff fills in some color for us himself:
Jake Dobkin:: care to give me an inflammatory quote for the gothamist piece?
Krucoff:I would have skinned puppies in China's illegal fur production for Anna Wintour, and this is the thanks I get.
Jake Dobkin: ha!
Jake Dobkin: so were you escorted off the premises by guards?
Krucoff:by a woman in HR
Jake Dobkin: and were they nice about it, or cruel?
Krucoff:Nothing cruel, though I kinda felt like the kid who gets expelled for pissing on the teacher's desk.
Jake Dobkin: and when they asked if you had sent the memo, did you try to dodge it, or did you just lay it on the line?
Krucoff:i forwarded it for sure, there's nothing to hide. i didnt think it would actually end up on gawker.
Jake Dobkin: of course not-- it's ridiculous
Jake Dobkin: did they give you severance to finance your revenge?
Krucoff:ha, i was freelance
Jake Dobkin: ha!
We asked Lockhart Steele, Gawker's managing editor, what he thought of the situation:
LS:I think it's a sad day for the Internet when someone can be fired for revealing that their company's
Internet isn't working.
Jake Dobkin: well said-- does gawker have any plans to assist mr. krucoff in these trying times?
Jake Dobkin: assuming, of course, laurel doesn't get him first!
LS:He is, as always, invited to crash parties at Denton's.
Jake Dobkin: :-)
And Jesse Oxfeld, Gawker's editor, also gave us his feelings about what happened:
Oxfeld: It sucks. It's paranoid overreaction on Conde's part, especially when you consider that what
Andrew allegedly "leaked" was entirely inconsequential, and his bosses there all loved his work.
Jake Dobkin: do you regret publishing the note?
Oxfeld: Also, I'm a little ashamed. If someone's going to get fired for leaking something to me, I'd really prefer it to be something worth getting fired over.
Oxfeld: regret: Of course I regret taking part in something that got Andrew fired. My regret, though, is
not that I published it but that Conde reacted so humorlessly and vindictively.
Oxfeld: Or, really, my regret is that he didn't send it by Gmail.
This situation is perplexing, to say the least. Surely Conde Nast knew of Krucoff's relationship with Gawker before he was hired there. And surely, groundrules were spelled out for what he was allowed to pass on and what he wasn't. Anyone from Conde Nast feel like giving their side of the story?
Update: Improbably, the Times actually ran a short piece on AK's firing, and they got a quote from Conde Nast:
Maurie Perl, a spokeswoman for Condé Nast, confirmed that Mr. Krucoff was no longer working there, but said that because he was not an employee, he was technically not fired. Still, she said, "He was told today that his services were no longer required." As for company policy on leaking information to outsiders, she said, "As a privately held company, we don't discuss our employee or freelance policies."