In a revealing interview about the crushing legal battle over Hulk Hogan’s sex tape, ex-Gawker editor AJ Daulerio says his boss Nick Denton abandoned him when he was in the throes of drug addiction, then threw him under the bus during the invasion-of-privacy trial in Florida last year.
“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,” Daulerio says in the wide-ranging profile published Thursday.
Daulerio, 42, disclosed for the first time in the article that he was molested as a child and has been in and out of rehab for years to combat substance abuse problems.
He was so screwed up in 2011 when he was working for Gawker’s sister site about sports, Deadspin, that he passed up an opportunity to meet legendary Dallas Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman because he was literally covered in cocaine that he’d just snorted in a stadium bathroom.
“When I went to open the bag, I Woody Allened it; the coke went everywhere,” Daulerio told Esquire, referring to the famous “Annie Hall” scene.
“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,” he said, referring to Aikman and Fox Sports commentator Joe Buck.
“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,” Daulerio recalled.
He fumes that Denton ignored his obvious downward spiral.
“I can’t tell you how many times I’ve written ‘Nick Denton’ on a piece of paper and crumpled it up and thrown it away,” Daulerio said, describing an anger management mechanism he learned from a therapist.
Daulerio also says Denton’s legal team never prepped him for the Hogan trial that resulted in a $140 million verdict and the freezing of the unemployed journalist’s $1,500 in life savings. When Daulerio suggested telling the jury he’d been molested, Denton told him not to mention it.
“Daulerio noted that Denton didn’t express concern for him; the gist of his response was that he didn’t see how sharing that information would help Gawker,” the Esquire piece says.
“That’s Nick,” Daulerio said.
When Denton and Gawker filed for bankruptcy following the crushing jury award, Daulerio was the only one left exposed and Hogan went after his meager savings.
Denton and Gawker eventually settled with Hogan for $31 million and Daulerio is working on brokering his own deal.
But he said in the interview that he’s still mulling his own counterattack against Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel, who bankrolled Hogan’s suit against Gawker.
A Gawker website had outed Thiel as gay in 2007.
Thiel has called Daulerio an “aspiring child pornographer” for joking during a deposition that he’d draw the line at publishing a sex tape of a minor under the age of 4.
Despite all the blame cast his way, Denton said he only has good wishes for his former employee.
“I am glad that, now the ransom for his freedom has been paid, AJ can move on with life and start a family,” he told The Post.