The Cutline

TechCrunch’s Arrington to AOL: Keep us away from the Huffington Post and Arianna, or sell us back

Dylan Stableford
The Cutline

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Arrington (Beta News)

With rumors swirling about his uncertain future at AOL, TechCrunch founder and editor-in-chief Michael Arrington has addressed the situation in a blog post that raises more questions than answers.

"There's confusion--way too much confusion--about my status at TechCrunch and TechCrunch's status at Aol," Arrington wrote. "The multiple conflicting statements made by Aol on Thursday and Friday of last week are evidence of that confusion, but that isn't the core issue. My employment relationship with TechCrunch and Aol is not the core issue. The only issue being discussed at this point, the only issue that matters, is TechCrunch editorial independence and self determination. Regardless of my role, if any, going forward."

Arrington believes AOL "should be held to their promise when they acquired us to give TechCrunch complete editorial independence."

"Editorial independence was never supposed to be an easy thing for Aol to give us," he wrote. "But it was never meaningful if it shatters the first time it is put to the test."

Arrington said he has proposed two options to AOL executives:

1. Reaffirmation of the editorial independence promised at the time of acquisition. Given the current circumstances, that means autonomy from Huffington Post, unfettered editorial independence and a blanket right to editorial self determination. To put it simply, TechCrunch would stay with Aol but would be independent of the Huffington Post.


2. Sell TechCrunch back to the original shareholders.

"If Aol cannot accept either of these options, and no other creative solution can be found, I cannot be a part of TechCrunch going forward," Arrington wrote.

A spokeswoman for AOL did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In 2010, AOL bought TechCrunch for about $30 million, then the Huffington Post for $315 million, installing HuffPo founder Arianna Huffington as the editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post Media Group. In that capacity, Huffington oversees all of AOL's blog properties, including TechCrunch.

Arrington added: "Apologies on the corny image," referring to a still from the movie "300" at the top of the post. "It just reflects exactly how we feel right now. And if this ends up being my last post on TechCrunch, that image is a cool way to exit."

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