Telling Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump to go fuck himself has, for at least a good half of the electorate, become a national pastime this year. Whether muttered sotto voce in one’s home, yelled out in rhyming chants at protests, or delivered in fewer than 140 characters via a particular social media platform, a good “fuck you” frequently seems like the only satisfying response to the narcissistic nut-bar hoping to call himself POTUS. The fuck-yous weren’t always so common, however, and yesterday sports website Deadspin published an oral history detailing the time more than three years ago when, in response to a tweet to the site’s Twitter account, the staff told Trump to, well, you know.
On January 16, 2013, the site published its exposé on star football player Manti Te’o’s fake girlfriend. Remember Manti Te’o? In 2012, the prevailing story about the Notre Dame linebacker was that, despite grieving over the deaths of both his grandmother and girlfriend, he was shining on the field, finishing second in the Heisman awards that year. After receiving a tip, Deadspin investigated the story and revealed that Te’o’s online girlfriend, Lennay Kekua, not only did not die, but she never existed to begin with. She was a fiction created by some of his acquaintances.
A day after the article was published, Donald Trump posted a tweet congratulating Deadspin on its work.
Just 14 minutes later, Deadspin, in return, offered a succinct and simple message.
In Deadspin’s semi-tongue-in-cheek oral history (An oral history about a single tweet? Sure, why not.), current and past staff members delve into the details of those four highly satisfying little syllables.
“I suggested ‘Go fuck yourself,’ says Deadspin staffer Barry Petchesky. “It seemed to the point and accurately summed up our reaction.” Other staff members wanted to tweak the wording and post “Get fucked, you clown” or “Get fucked” instead, but Petchesky “went a little rogue” and posted the tweet himself. “I’m glad we didn’t take time to workshop it,” he says. “Our response was and should have been from the gut.”
In response to the slight, Trump, as is his wont, immediately reversed course and insulted the publication, saying that Deadspin taught him a “sad lesson” not to be nice anymore and that it’ll never “make it.”
This last note is proving somewhat prescient, as Deadspin’s parent company, Gawker Media, declared bankruptcy in June after Hulk Hogan won his lawsuit against the company. Before Gawker Media is sold at auction next week, staff members are celebrating its past 14 years this week with “fond reminiscing, a few stories we’ve always wanted to do, and some fun surprises.”
The fuck-you will remain one of those fondly remembered stories, and while some of the Deadspin staff members were at first unsure of the fuck-you at the time, the oral history reveals that today they remain unanimously in its favor.
“I am exceedingly proud of that tweet, and proud of Barry for having tweeted that tweet in our name,” says former Deadspin staffer Tommy Craggs. Dom Cosentino adds, “It remains the most cogent piece of political analysis Deadspin ever published.”