NEW YORK – The irreverent feminist website Jezebel is making a comeback less than a month after it was shut down.
Paste Magazine, a digital pop culture publication based in Atlanta, announced Wednesday that it was buying Jezebel.com from G/O Media, which closed it and laid off its staff earlier this month.
Jezebel’s “acquisition means that the critical information and content that Jezebel readers have come to rely on will live on,” Paste Founder and Editor-in-Chief Josh Jackson said in a prepared statement. “Jezebel’s unique voice and commitment to storytelling make it a perfect addition to our portfolio.”
G/0 Media said it was shutting down Jezebel after trying unsuccessfully for months to find a buyer for the site, which was first launched in 2007 by Gawker Media and swiftly gained an impassioned following with its combination of searing commentary on gender politics and edgy pop culture coverage.
Jackson told The Associated Press via email that Paste became interested in buying Jezebel the day after it shut down and moved quickly to secure the all-cash deal. He said the site will start publishing again as early as this week. He said Paste is searching for a new editor-in-chief and talking to other job candidates, prioritizing Jezebel's former staffers. The acquisition was first reported by The New York Times.
“It took us a day to realize we could be the ones to bring it back from the dead," Jackson said. "But it was important that we do a deal quickly and get the site back up and running so the devoted audience would still be there.”
Along with political issues like abortion, Jezebel became known for its takedowns of celebrity culture and the fashion industries that helped make subjects like “body shaming” and “rape culture” part of the national discourse. Like many other digital publications, however, Jezebel struggled in recent years to find a sustainable business model as digital advertising plummeted.
Jezebel became part of the G/0 Media portfolio in 2019. Tensions with the parent company's leadership preceded its shutdown, which Jezebel writers blamed on G/0 Media's failure to look for a revenue model more suitable to to the site's mission and audience.
G/0 Media, which also owns Gizmodo, Quartz, the Onion and the Root, said it closed Jezebel as part of a restructuring to cope with economic headwinds and a difficult digital advertising environment. G/0 Media CEO Jim Spanfeller also said it had become clear that the parent company’s “business model and the audiences we serve across our network did not align with Jezebel’s.” But he also said he had not given up on the idea that Jezebel would find a new home and relaunch.
“We have been working on the sale of Jezebel for months and are delighted that the site has found a new home,” Spanfeller said in a prepared statement.