What is it with Philly.com, the web offshoot of the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News? Last summer, management at company headquarters pulled Marnie Hall’s salacious video about Mayor Nutter and an “attractive blonde” with whom he was seen dining at Rangoon in Chinatown. Not surprisingly, the mayor’s office had called to complain. Then in February, newspaper spokesman Mark Block yanked a story from Philly.com’s Clout blog, which reported the names of potential bidders for Philadelphia Media Network, the corporation that owns the papers and the website. And now this week, they’ve done it again.
The story in question is another one of Hall’s gossipy video reports. On Friday, Hall posted a story about Governor Corbett’s daughter, Katherine Gibson, who was recently appointed to the position of deputy attorney general in the Pennsylvania attorney general’s Philadelphia office. The person who did the appointing was Attorney General Linda Kelly, who was herself appointed by Gibson’s dad, the governor.
As Hall pointed out, some conspiracy theorists out there have been questioning Gibson’s sudden switch from her maiden name to her married one. (God forbid anyone think that nepotism had anything to do with her appointment.) Gibson had always been known as Katie Corbett in the Philadelphia district attorney’s office, where she worked for several years before making the move to the AG assignment. She kept her maiden name even after her wedding two years ago.
Yesterday, Gibson placed a call to Philly.com management asking that the video be removed. They complied. But Gibson told me this morning that her complaint wasn’t about the whiff of nepotism in the air. Gibson’s beef was with a wedding photo that Hall found online and used in her report.
“I own the copyright on the photo,” said Gibson when I reached her at her Philadelphia office, adding that the website neither asked for nor had permission to use the shot. As for the hubbub over her last name, Gibson was happy to clear the air. “Everyone knew me as Corbett at the DA’s office,” Gibson explained. “But I have a baby now, and I started in a new office, so it was time to transition. Plus, changing your name … it’s sort of a pain in the butt.”
UPDATED 4/4/2012 10:30 a.m.: An edited version of the video is back online.