Hulk Hogan may be out of a job at the WWE due mostly to excerpts of a sex tape going public that Gawker originally leaked, but if things turn out the way the jury intends regarding the lawsuit he filed against Gawker back in 2012, Hogan will be $115 million richer.
The news comes courtesy of a recap and report from CNN, who explained that the jury awarded Hogan $115 million in addition to an unnamed amount of funds for punitive damages. The jury’s final verdict was reached after hearing closing testimonies from both Gawker and Hogan’s lawyers after two weeks of enduring the trial.
Hogan’s lawyer in particular dropped some massive powerbombs of truth on Gawker, explaining how they ruin lives with their content by invading privacy and publishing unethical pieces. Hogan’s lawyer, Kenneth Turkel, explained that Denton ran Gawker as if he were a god pulling the strings of the lives of those beneath him, with CNN quoting his closing argument…
“This guy is up there in New York sitting behind a computer playing god with other people’s lives,” Turkel said of Denton. Turkel also scoffed that [A.J] Daulerio wrote in his 2012 commentary that “the Internet has made it easier for all of us to be shameless voyeurs and deviants.”
The jury was most certainly behind the all-American Hogan in this case, especially given that Hogan’s legal team managed to construct formidable arguments based on recalling the hubris that the media outlet displayed years prior in how they treat the subjects they write about and the content they post. In one particular case Gawker refused to take down the tape and made defenses why publishing sex tapes was newsworthy.
A judge told us to take down our Hulk Hogan sex tape post. We won’t. https://gaw.kr/sOyoY6Z
Gawker wasn’t having any of the jury’s decision, though. According to the Hollywood Reporter Gawker is already appealing the decision of the jury. Hollywood Reporter writes…
“Gawker has already indicated it will appeal. The focus of the coming proceedings will likely be whether the First Amendment should have precluded claims and whether Gawker got a fair trial.”
Originally Gawker would have to pay $115 million bond in pending fees to appeal the court’s decision, but according to Capital New York, they may only have to front a bill of $50 million… which, they don’t have…
“Fortunately for Gawker, a relatively recent Florida statute may save them from having to pay the full judgment. Florida statute 45.045, enacted in 2012, caps supersedeas bonds at $50 million — as long as Gawker pays a $50 million, it can get an automatic stay on the $115 million judgment.”
According to a report from Business Insider, they were about $5 million short of the $50 million stay in their annual 2014 revenue report, which only topped off at $45 million. Capital New York reported that they only made about $6 million in profit in 2014… and hits have been dropping ever since. 2015’s profit was expected to be even lower.
According to notes from Wrestling-Online, however, Gawker may try to get the jury to look at documents recently unsealed regarding the Hogan case. According to the notes, the unsealed documents, which can be viewed in PDF format here, allegedly reveal that Hogan may have known about the sex tape and other tapes and that – according to Gawker – Hogan was going to use the sex tape as a publicity stunt. They point to the following comments from Hogan who texted Bubba “The Love Sponge” regarding the tape(s)….
“We know there’s more than one tape out there and a one that has several racial slurs were told. I have a PPV and I am not waiting for anymore surprises because we know there is a lot more coming,”
Supposedly, Gawker wants to use the unsealed information from the FBI to build a case that Hogan knew about the sex tape and played coy during the lawsuit. Wrestling-Online explained…
“Apart form the sum, Bubba agreed not to testify against Hogan and Gawker fought hard to have him on the stand but the judge ultimately refused to honor the request. This completely contradicts what Hogan said, having previously testified that he did not [know] that he was being recorded. The whole case was based off the fact that Hogan supposedly did not know that he was being filmed and that’s why he feels his privacy was violated.”
Regardless of Gawker’s intentions, some of their employees and their supporters in corrupt journalism and the spread of misinformation and invasive privacy have run to their aid or posted comments on Twitter in support of the employees and Gawker’s subsidiaries. Unsurprisingly some members of the Game Journo Pros were spotted as well.
I’m sorry for the Gawker Media employees who had nothing to do with the posting of the Hulk tape but will nonetheless feel the ramifications
oh look, there’s all the schadenfreude from Gawker haters, who are missing the point on how damaging this verdict could be to press freedom
Gawker makes big missteps sometimes (that inexcusable Conde Nast story) but I think they and Deadspin in particular have been more good>
The comments of support from journalists who have partaken in dishonest reporting or aligned themselves with outlets who have partaken in dishonest reporting are vastly outweighed by people who have grown tired of the clickbait propaganda that has been passed off as journalism in this day and age.
Even in Ian Williams’ comment he admits the kind of invasive and exploitative content from Gawker – such as outing the Conde Naste CFO, which garnered #GamerGate more allies than enemies – is the sort of thing that can ruin careers, relationships and lives. Even those not associated with #GamerGate wanted to see the Gawker and their subsidiaries burn due to dishonest coverage from places like Kotaku.
Reminder: Gawker is legitimately evil and once doxed all registered gun owners in New York City pic.twitter.com/alkcsmoP7x
Hey @patrickklepek, I’m so sorry that this @Gawker settlement will put you out of your @Kotaku job!!! …Not really, burn you misquoting pos
Jamie Walton, the founder of the Wayne Foundation – an organization to help kids escape the cruelties of sex trafficking – found herself being misrepresented in a Kotaku piece by Patrick Klepek… yes, the same Patrick Klepek involved with the call for blacklisting an industry professional through the Game Journo Pros list because the industry professional said something “gross”.
#GamerGate have been fighting with Gawker and their subsidiaries for more than a year and a half, even managing to cost Gawker anywhere between $1 million and close to $10 million in ad revenue with their Operation Disrespectful nod e-mail campaign.
#GamerGate’s main target has been Kotaku, who covered for their writer Nathan Grayson who was involved in a conflict of interest with an indie dev. Kotaku and others associated in a secret cabal all worked to spin the news on #GamerGate to turn it into a harassment campaign. However, gamers used the opportunity to expose countless examples of corruption that have been chronicled and archived on Deep Freeze.
As you can imagine, the denizens of #GamerGate across social media and their respective containment threads managed to shout out in a chorus of jubilee after the verdict against Gawker was passed.
GamerGate Gawker to pay Hulk Hogan 115 million dollars. Rest in pieces. pic.twitter.com/14H9JBNlv5
GamerGate finally something to come together in, the death of @Gawker best week end drama ever. pic.twitter.com/QZsCzmMVhJ
In the end Gawker did indeed burn. Brought down by its own hubris and arrogance. The people rejoiced. #GamerGate pic.twitter.com/JjcAdCAtET
The threads rejoicing the verdict are spread across Kotaku In Action, 8chan, Twitter and forum boards.
Whether or not Gawker will be able to successfully appeal is looking like a longshot to a lot of people, especially with the Daily Mail lawsuit going on as well. So what happens to Gawker’s subsidiaries like Kotaku, Jezebel, io9, Deadspin and Gizmodo? Well, it’s all up in the air, but some developers, gamers and average citizens are saying that they hope they all burn to the ground.