In an amazing display of scumbaggery, Gizmodo has decided to publicly shame the Apple employee who lost the iPhone prototype. I’ve decided not to link to their piece and not to mention the employee’s name because I think their actions are simply appalling.
There was no mention in Gizmodo’s report of who found the device or how the folks at Gizmodo got a hold of it. Their story goes from “He reached for a phone and called a lot of Apple numbers and tried to find someone who was at least willing to transfer his call to the right person, but no luck” to “weeks later, Gizmodo got it” without much actual information in between. However, the New York Times has confirmed that the person who found the device sold it to Nick Denton, chief executive of Gawker Media, which owns Gizmodo, for $5,000.
The piece ends with what seems like their justification for running it, Jesus Diaz stating that Apple shouldn’t fire the employee.
He sounded tired and broken. But at least he’s alive and apparently may still be working at Apple—as he should be. After all, it’s just a fucking iPhone and mistakes can happen to everyone
Sure, it’s just an iPhone that Gizmodo paid $5,000 to get their hands on. It’s just an iPhone that Jason Chen and Jesus Diaz were willing to risk journalistic integrity to write about in detail. It’s just an iPhone that is currently considered to be stolen goods under California law.
Whether it’s just an iPhone or not, you’ve decided to publicly humiliate a man who made a mistake, possible costing him his career. It doesn’t matter if you thought you were doing the right thing — you weren’t. Sure, you may have had one of the biggest days in the history of Gizmodo (in terms of pageviews) but you’ve lost what little respect for you that remained from some incredibly influential people (like Macro Arment, Craig Hockenberry, and John Gruber to name a few).
What really got my goat was Nick Denton’s tweet in which he wrote:
A few clueless geeks believe “real journalists” wait for Steve Jobs or his publicists to make an announcement. Screw that.
That may be the case, but “real journalists” also believe that one shouldn’t acquire stolen property for pageviews.
But hey, it’s just a fucking iPhone.