Hogan v Gawker



Yeah, pretty silly all the moaning that makes it seem like Gawker was the victim here. They did something illegal, ignored a court order, and were forced to pay for it. Who cares who paid for the prosecution?


Why are people upset that there’s one less source of garbage in the world now? Is Gawker the type of journalism we need more or less of in this day and age?


Because tribalism.


It could have a chilling effect on future journalism.


I certainly hope it has a chilling effect on posting leaked sex tape videos and then ignoring court orders to take them down.

The press are given very wide latitude here in the US. I think that’s an objectively good thing. But that doesn’t mean anything goes, and when a judge says take a video down, you take a video down.


Yeah, more or less, it reminds press to not do stuff that, according to the courts involved thus far, they weren’t really allowed to do in the first place. (I’m sure there’s room for debate as to the relative truth of that universally and all, but yeah)





I’m still not upset over gawkers demise. I don’t feel it’s any sort of bad precedent or freedom of speech issue. Newspapers shouldn’t be allowed to invade privacy or ignore orders from judges anymore than anyone else.


I might when every elected official claims privacy for everything ever (which they already do anyway). It’s not like Gawker taped him, they just received said recording.


That was a reasonable defense right up until the court order. If they still disagreed, that’s what appeals are for. Sorting out the complicated ugly scenarios of stuff like this is exactly what the court system is about. Just ignoring that and doing what you want anyway is going to have pretty unpleasantconsequences.


Oh, I definitely agree there, they fucked up a lot along the way. Still when you’re talking about fundamental rights and especially the First people being dicks isn’t really a factor. If you ignore a court order, then you get punished for that, but that punishment is something separate from the original reason you’re in court.

If I’m in front of a judge for say murder and I tell him to go fuck himself, I’ll be held in contempt and be punished. It shouldn’t, however, factor into my guilt on said murder charge (though, of course it will to an extent because it’s likely going to sway the jury on some level). Gawker was stupid, but when it comes to free speech, being stupid shouldn’t determine much of anything (other than maybe that you’re actually an idiot).

I mean, Fox News won a case that said they can knowingly lie about things. That’s a much bigger deal when it comes to press in a lot of ways and they won it. Given the choice I think I’d prefer press that can’t overtly lie and can still tell me about some sex tape verses the inverse.


It’s not a free speech issue. Free speech doesn’t mean the right to invade privacy. That’s one of the well accepted limitations on the right to free speech, and for good reason.


This was not a dispute over a few words. It was a push, by a superrich businessman and donor, to wipe out news coverage that he disapproved of.

This kind of legal onslaught is enormously taxing. Last spring, Lowell Bergman, the legendary 60 Minutes producer (whose story of exposing Big Tobacco was chronicled in the Oscar-nominated film The Insider), talked about a “chill in the air” as investigative reporters confront billionaires who can hurt a news organization profoundly whether or not they win in court: “There are individuals and institutions with very deep pockets and unaccountable private power who don’t like the way we report. One example is a case involving Mother Jones…A superrich plaintiff is spending millions of dollars while he bleeds the magazine and ties up its staff.”

Litigation like this, Bergman said, is “being used to tame the press, to cause publishers and broadcasters to decide whether to stand up or stand down, to self-censor.”


They took down the video and left up a description of what was said in the video, about race, correct? That’s what got them in trouble.


No, they did not (at first). In fact, they wrote a post giving their editorial middle finger to the judge. Here it is, read it before the site goes offline this week:

Edit: I misread what you wrote. They did take down the video, but instead linked to it on another site, and posted a lengthy description of it.


While the Gawker case may not have been as defensible as many other cases that have been backed by billionaire funded lawyer teams, attacking sites like Motherjones or other sites, it is an awful precedence to set when it comes to the media. Sex tape or not. Peter Thiel spent boatloads of cash to get a website taken down, through many lawsuits funded by him, draining the cash of the website, until a case broke through, because Gawker was a bit to cavalier in their coverage.

It wasn’t even this case, it was a matter of time. Peter Thiel had the money to keep going, if it wasn’t going to be the Hogan case, it would be another one. He had a goal to use his money and influence to shut down a news organization he disliked, and he did it. Even if he never won a case, I am sure the legal fees would have continued to be onerous to the owners of the site to the point of having to shut it down.

Like Gawker or not, in the end, the Billionaire always wins.

Which seems odd… because a Billionaire is running for prez, and he definitely isn’t winning right now. Maybe… he isn’t a Billionaire?


It’s certainly true that our legal system allows rich interests to silence less-rich interests. That’s why antiSLAPP laws exist in most states. Id certainly agree that there could be more protections in place against bad faith use of the legal system to harass an individual or business, but that’s not particularly germane to the demise of gawker. Gawker isn’t dead because the legal system was abused. Gawker is dead because the system worked.


Forgive me, but painting this as a “billionaire” shutting down a website is disingenuous. Gawker did this to themselves with their own hubris and arrogance. They acted badly, paraded their bad behavior around like a trophy, and then defied a court order and showed utter contempt for the judge and ruling. No one was curtailing speech. Gawker was making money off stolen, private property. Hulk Hogan could have pulled a Kim Kardashian and cashed in, but he chose to retain his privacy, sued and won. There are a thousand tabloids that will march on with this kind of garbage. No loss.