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Asshole billionaire closes Gothamist, DNAinfo after writers vote to unionize

Billionaire Joe Ricketts, who made his fortune founding TD Ameritrade, has shuttered media websites Gothamist, DNAinfo, Chicagoist, LAist, and Shanghaist.

The decision seems like a retaliatory move from Ricketts, coming a week after Gothamist and DNAinfo voted to unionize.

Ricketts wrote of his founding of DNAinfo, which had become an important bastion of local journalism since its inception in 2009,

“I started DNAinfo in 2009 at a time when few people were investing in media companies. But I believed an opportunity existed to build a successful company that would report unbiased neighborhood news and information. These were stories that weren’t getting told, and because I believe people care deeply about the things that happen where they live and work, I thought we could build a large and loyal audience that advertisers would want to reach.”

The billionaire then described his decision to close the website, claiming it was no longer profitable,

“But DNAinfo is, at the end of the day, a business, and businesses need to be economically successful if they are to endure. And while we made important progress toward building DNAinfo into a successful business, in the end, that progress hasn’t been sufficient to support the tremendous effort and expense needed to produce the type of journalism on which the company was founded.”

Ricketts, whose family owns the Chicago Cubs, is a staunch conservative who supported and donated to Donald Trump’s campaign last year. Ricketts wrote in a September blog post titled “Why I’m Against Unions At Businesses I Create” that “unions promote a corrosive us-against-them dynamic that destroys the esprit de corps businesses need to succeed.”

While Ricketts, as owner of these media platforms, is well within his rights to close them, this seems like an openly vindictive move against his own newsroom, which had chose to unionize last week.

Ricketts has wiped the entire archive of these sites in what appears to be an open attack on the work that these journalists did over the years.

This specific move has left many with a sour taste in their mouths.

This is definitely a sad turn of events for NYC media, DNAinfo and Gothamist had done truly important journalistic work over the years.

Fuck these asshole billionaires.