A.J. Daulerio wants your sympathy. He comes off as a broken, courageous figure in Thursday’s profile in Esquire, written by editor at large Maximillian Potter. But I know Daulerio — he’s worked for me and I for him. He’s a con man. Give him a wide berth.
Daulerio was one of the central figures in the Hulk Hogan lawsuit that brought down Gawker.com — the gossip site mother ship that spawned satellite sites like Lifehacker, Kokutu and Deadspin. I wrote for Deadspin from its launch in 2005 until 2009, when I left to launch a blog at NBCSports.com, Out of Bounds.
Daulerio became managing editor of Deadspin when its creator, Will Leitch, left for New York Magazine. So I worked for Daulerio for about a year. Daulerio later moved on to become managing editor of Gawker. That’s when he posted the sex tape involving Hogan, who sued Gawker, its owner, Nick Denton, and Daulerio. Hogan won.
Daulerio, his bank account frozen, is now living in a one-bedroom apartment in Florida. He agreed to do a tell-all interview with Esquire which was posted Thursday. Like his career at Deadspin/Gawker, he doesn’t skimp on salacious details. Excerpt:
The same year, he went to MetLife Stadium to visit his new friend (Joe) Buck, who was calling a Packers–Giants game with Troy Aikman. In the booth, Daulerio ducked into the bathroom with an eight ball of coke.
“When I went to open the bag, I Woody Allened it (referring to the famous scene from Annie Hall); the coke went everywhere,” Daulerio says. “I didn’t want anyone to think Joe or Troy was doing blow, so I cleaned it up by snorting as much as I could. There had to be coke all over my beard and jacket. Joe asked if I wanted to meet Troy, and I was like, ‘No thanks.’ And I got out of there.”
More and more, Daulerio came into the Deadspin office later and later — that is, if he came in at all. “He would disappear,” (Tommy) Craggs says. “There were times when we really needed a decision and he wasn’t around.”
So yeah, Daulerio had a coke habit, and was an alcoholic. He complains about being thrown under the bus by Denton in the Hulk Hogan lawsuit. He wants your sympathy.
Another excerpt from the Esquire piece:
In November, Gawker agreed to pay Hogan a $31 million settlement, and dropped its appeal. (As of press time, it appeared imminent that a bankruptcy judge would approve the deal.) “Nick told me part of the reason he was settling was he didn’t want to be the cause of me overdosing,” Daulerio says. “I mean, if that’s the way he felt, if he really cared about me, why didn’t he reach out to me and try to get me help while I worked for him?”
Final thoughts: I was an occasional contributor to the site Black Table, created by Daulerio, Leitch and Eric Gillen, back before Deadspin. The four of us were friends in a disjointed internet sort of way — I live in California, the other three in New York. So suddenly one week I started getting e-mails from a guy I wasn’t familiar with, talking trash about Leitch and Gillen, and trying to draw similar responses from me.
When I wouldn’t take the bait, the e-mails got more and more aggressive. It turned out to be Daulerio, using a fake name and e-mail address. When I called him out on it, his reply was “Why are you making such a big deal out of this? Relax.”
When he took over Deadspin, I thought he’d grown up. But the really good con men never change.