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Published on April 27, 2024
San Francisco Tech Billionaire Jeff Lawson Takes the Helm of Satirical Giant The Onion, Urges $1 DonationsSource: Flickr / David Dolphin

Jeff Lawson, the San Francisco tech billionaire and co-founder of Twilio, has taken ownership of The Onion, calling the satirical news site a "national treasure." Posting on his LinkedIn, Lawson urged the public to contribute $1, promising "absolutely nothing" in return except the satisfaction of supporting the humor outlet. He criticized common internet annoyances and declared a new focus on user experience, heralding potential future projects to expand The Onion's offerings.

In a strikingly different tone, visitors to The Onion's website were confronted with a message that read, "Give Us $1 Or 'The Onion' Disappears Forever." The Onion itself published this statement, playfully threatening the erasure of archives and the deletion of website content, letter by letter, should readers fail to donate, outlining the potential doom in their typical satirical fashion.

Further complicating the affair, an X post from Sara Fischer revealed that prior to Lawson's acquisition, G/O Media had sold The Onion to Global Tetrahedron, a Chicago-based firm. Despite this, the company's CEO Jim Spanfeller's note assured that The Onion's staff would remain intact and based in Chicago. G/O Media's history of selling other popular online entities suggests an ongoing restructuring of its media portfolio.

Noted in an article by the San Francisco Chronicle, The Onion has been a fixture in comedic news since 1988, providing satirical takes on current events. Lawson's call for a $1 donation throws back to this legacy, tapping into the loyalty and humor of The Onion's readership. "If you care about The Onion, if the Onion ever made you laugh – give us a buck," Lawson said, compelling readers to invest in the future of satire.