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Gawker defends O’Donnell ‘one night stand’ story

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Thursday, October 28, 2010 15:49 EDT
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UPDATE II: The Smoking Gun believes it knows the identity of “Anonymous,” the person who wrote a detailed, graphic description of a no-sex “one night stand” with Christine O’Donnell.

The Web site identifies the person as Dustin Dominiak, a 28-year-old graduate of Albion College. He was identified by his friend Brad Kurisko, a Philadelphia area Boy Scouts executive whose uniform can be seen in Gawker’s photos of O’Donnell with “Anonymous.”

Kurisko said that he had no idea that Dominiak was preparing the Gawker piece and only became aware of its publication after speaking with a TSG reporter late this afternoon. He added that he is now concerned about “preserving my job” in light of media scrutiny, which has included reporters attempting to contact members of his family. These contacts, Kurisko added, were triggered by a Village Voice report that erroneously identified him as “Anonymous.”

UPDATE: The editor of Gawker.com is defending his publication’s decision to print a personal account of a non-sexual “one night stand” between Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell and an unidentified younger man three years ago.

Following online criticism that Gawker published what amounted to a “letter to Penthouse” about the Republican candidate running in Delaware, Gawker editor Remy Stern said he decided to run the story because it contrasted the Christian conservative values O’Donnell claims to uphold.

“If it was any politician whose private life diverged from his public life in such an interesting way, we’d be interested in that,” Stern said. “It had nothing to do with her being a woman.”

Stern added that it was “a great story.”

Not everyone agreed. “Today we are all Christine O’Donnell,” Tweeted Justin Elliott of the usually anti-O’Donnell Salon.com.

Meghan McCain, the progressive-leaning daughter of Sen. John McCain, also took to Twitter to vent her displeasure.

“Wow Gawker, just wow. This is the exact reason why women don’t want to run for office in this country. Posting that is vile and disgusting,” she wrote.

The Atlantic‘s Nicole Allan argues Gawker “walked a tricky editorial line” between sensationalism and legitimate investigation of a politician’s behavior and beliefs. She questions whether the author should have been allowed to remain anonymous.

In choosing to publish this story, along with a series of photos of O’Donnell dressed in a racy ladybug costume for the Halloween she allegedly spent with the writer, Gawker walked a tricky editorial line. On the one hand, O’Donnell is a public figure who has opened herself up to media scrutiny and who has suggested that her strictly conservative social views would influence her governance. Delves into how she practices these values in her personal can be viewed as a service to voters.

Editorial questions arise, however, over whether the man who writes about her lying naked in his bed should be able to claim anonymity. Gawker gives readers no reason to believe that the writer didn’t make the entire thing up. Only after Forbes contacted Gawker after the post went live did editor Remy Stern confirm that the site had checked the piece out for veracity.

ORIGINAL STORY FOLLOWS BELOW

A man from Philadelphia claims to have had a bizarre “one night stand” with the Republican candidate for Delaware’s Senate seat three years ago.

The then 25-year-old Philadelphian, who doesn’t identify himself, writes about his experience with Christine O’Donnell on the website Gawker.

He says that O’Donnell — whose aunt was his landlord — showed up at his apartment with a friend on Halloween to ask if she could come inside his apartment, along with her friend, so that they could change into their costumes in the bathroom.

“It was a pretty strange request,” he writes. “But I told her it was fine and she was welcome to use our place to get ready.”

“It didn’t take long before the two women—who’d clearly been drinking—were sitting on my couch, beers in hand, trying to convince my roommate and me to join them for a night on the town.”

After putting on a Boy Scout costume, the man and his roommate accompanied O’Donnell and her friend to a bar in South Street.

“We’d probably knocked back five Heinekens when Christine leaned over and whispered in my ear that she wanted to go back to my place,” he writes.


After returning to his apartment, he and O’Donnell “got cozy on the couch” and continued to drink more beer.

“Things got physical on the couch pretty quickly,” he says. “It wasn’t long before we’d moved from the living room to my bed.”

While in bed, he claims that O’Donnell took off all her clothes and told him that she was a virgin. He says he and O’Donnell went to bed without having sex.

“A few weeks later, Christine started dating my roommate,” he continues. “They went out for over a year, and it was a little awkward the first few times Christine came over to visit him at our apartment and we all had to make conversation in the living room. But that passed pretty quickly. And in case you’re wondering, he never had sex with her either, as far as I know.”

During a 2003 TV appearance, O’Donnell suggested she wanted to stop “the whole country from having sex.”

In 1996, she said on MTV that she opposes masturbation.

“The Bible says that lust in your heart is committing adultery,” she said. “So — you can’t masturbate without lust.”

 
 
 
 
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