In response, Gawker says the filmmaker emailed Denton with the following statement: "I am suing you personally. You messed with the wrong guy. No one makes up lies about me and gets away with it. I lost a $10 million deal as a direct result of you calling me 'a rapist.' You will be paying me every dime of that back and more! Are you mentally retarded? Do your research first. I am coming after you harder than I ever went after anyone. I am going to wipe you off the grid!!!! YOU ARE DONE! I will take everything you have. You, Nick Denton, are truly the douche of the decade. Merry Xmas IDIOT!!!"
Gawker has since added "alleged" to its past characterization of Francis as a rapist, although the "coked-out" description remains. (Online media alleged to have libeled or mischaracterized someone are allowed by law to at first correct their alleged errors, a move that can then be used as a defense in court -- that they tried to be accurate and made things right when alerted to any mistakes).
A Gawker lawyer seemed primed for a fight, stating " ... given his chosen career and his actions to date, it would be hard to say that your client really has any reputation of social probity and standing to damage at this point, now does he?"
Francis' email to Denton included a photo of himself sans shirt so Denton could "masturbate to it because you seem to be quite sexually obsessed with me."
The site's backpeddling on its post was the second such high-profile self-correction in blog-land this week, with TMZ being forced to admit that a photo it charactized as showing a John F. Kennedy cavorting with nude women on a boat was, in fact, take long after the onetime president had died.