Hogan v Gawker


God, what a depressing thought. And each of those lives so much more valuable then the Hulks career.


The solution to this isn’t to stop this kind of lawsuit, it’s to end the inequality that allows a billionaire to get his way. If we’re ok with Peter Thiel getting all the insane perks he gets in life because of his money, then just chalk this up as one more of them. I’m more offended by the Koch brothers perverting science and public radio or Sheldon Adelson being a gatekeeper for half of the nominees for federal office.

I’m also deeply suspicious of the “it was all Thiel” storyline. That gaslight article acts like Gawker was tamer than The Times, and seems mystified by why they didn’t get as long a leash. Because any random site that’s getting clicks deserves as much respect as the NYT. rollseyes. Thiel is an easy target for externalizing the failures, because who wants to support a billionaire’s vengeance? But if he really just wanted to stop Gawker, he could have bought it and changed how it worked. If he just wanted to get back at Denton, he probably could have found easier ways. He wanted to prove, in court, that what Gawker did is not ok.



You are absolutely 100% wrong in how they calculated that punishment. They were on trial for the sex tape, not the racist rant “I am racist” that got him fired from the WWE. WHICH GAWKER DID NOT PUBLISH! The sex tape was no big thing to the WWE, a bad look, but he was wronged. Hulk Hogan’s WWE career ended due to him being a racist, not because he porked his friend’s wife on tape.

A Closer Look at Hogan’s Damages Award

In addition to $60 million in non-economic damages for emotional
distress and $35.1 million in punitive damages, the total
damages included $55 million in economic damages for commercial
misappropriation of Bollea’s right to publicity. The plaintiff’s
valuation expert, Jeff Anderson
of CONSOR, opined that the economic damages should be based on the
business value that Gawker gained from users flocking to its site to
view the video.

$60 Million for “emotional distress” for a sex tape releasing of an escapade he bragged publicly about
10 times what the family of Tamir Rice r, a 12 year old holding an airsoft toy gun in a public park, recieved for being killed by police.

I have a pretty fragile ego, but I guess the “Real American” is even worse off than me.

$55 Million in economic damages for using “the Hulker’s likeness” without his consent, and profiting off it.
Well, I guess gawker gets a lot of pageviews, that video DEFINITELY made them $55 million. Not using some sort of bananas math formula that the prosecutors made on the spot, valuing an average news site’s unique monthly viewer at almost 20 dollars. We all know that ad money definitely banks that much.

And $35 Million in punative damages for not doing the right thing.
Sure, whatever. They took the video down when they were asked to, but whatever.

He was not awarded any money because he was fired by the WWE, he was fired for saying.

I don’t know if Brooke was fucking the black guy’s son. I mean, I don’t
have double standards. I mean, I am racist, to a point. Fucking ngers.
But then when it comes to nice people and shit, and whatever…I mean, if
she was going to fuck some n
ger, I’d rather have her marry an
8-foot-tall nger worth a hundred million dollars! Like a basketball
player! I guess we’re all a little racist. Fucking n

That was why he was fired. And the damages in the sex tape case had nothing to do with that.


Yeah this was the weird thing about everything. The comments that got him fired were reported all over the internet in a million different places. That’s what did the damage.


This is the same law firm Thiel funded vs Gawker:

Melania Trump pursues Daily Mail over ‘100% false’ rumors about her past

Harder has since confirmed to the Guardian that Melania Trump is also considering filing lawsuits against other publications including Politico and the Week.


I’m going to add a little to my rant from above. Gawker didn’t die because it lost a lawsuit, or because a jury awarded too much money in a libel case. Gawker died because it’s brand had become toxic. There are plenty of organizations that could have afforded to pay that settlement and yet keep Gawker itself going if they thought the site was a valuable brand. This kind of lawsuit couldn’t possibly take down a stronger brand, but Gawker had already earned a reputation for being the Plastics from Mean Girls and everyone in their Burn Book realized they didn’t have to put up with the scorn anymore. Their unregulated approach may have enabled the occasional investigative success, but it also angered many people who are now cheering their demise. This leads me to believe they were on their way out, and the Hulkster was just the final straw. Was that reputation due entirely to Peter Thiel? I doubt it - my opinion of them was formed by individual “news items” that really never should have been published in the form they were, or at least should have been framed as POV screeds the way the Vox “first person” stories are. I don’t think any of the toxic culture of Gawker was necessary to produce good journalism, and I don’t think it was some bastion of great reporting that the world needed - the gap will be filled by the many other internet media options available.


Gawker was on trial for breaking the law by publishing the sex tape, not for releasing the racist rant, but I’m not sure why you wrote the latter part of your statement in CAPITAL LETTERS as if alleging Gawker is the source of the leak is preposterous, when it’s actually specifically claimed in another lawsuit that hasn’t yet been determined (and, given Gawker’s past conduct, their motivations and access to the material, quite possible that Gawker was the source of that leak),

Agree that the damage determination should not have taken into account damage caused to his career by the release of the racist rant, and the Judge determined that it didn’t.

Are you being deliberately disingenuous? No, they did not, as has been stated numerous times in this thread. They also didn’t take down an alleged rape video when the female victim asked do do so. They only removed the Hogan video when they were legally ordered to do so, and even then they did not fully comply with the legal order and bragged about their non-compliance:


True, that was disingenuous. They did not take the video down when they were asked, because, why would they? I can ask Peter Thiel for a million dollars to fund a year long vacation, but why would he? I am just asking. They did when they were compelled to, and the court order reached beyond the video to the entire story, including descriptions of the video which they felt they legally had the right to keep up, and one that they felt, through other appeals and court decisions, had the law on their side.

Clearly the Jury disagreed with that.


No, it’s the law that disagreed with them, not the jury. Complying with a court order is not optional - it is illegal and a crime, in itself, to not comply fully with the order - let alone brag about such non-compliance.

Your only options if you receive a court order that you disagree with are: (a) comply with the order, but appeal; (b) bring a motion to deny enforcement of the order until the appeal is heard, if you can prove you would be unfairly prejudiced in a manner that could not be monetarily addressed by complying with the order; or © break the law and incur additional judicial sanction and/or imprisonment.

Gawker paid the price for choosing option ©.


Because their conduct was both illegal and unethical, as they knew or reasonably should have known, and they were causing additional damages to the victims of their conduct (and of any underlying crime, such as the female rape victim) – and “journalists” shouldn’t require victims to have the resources required to litigate in order to comply with law and applicable journalistic standards and ethics.

But the reality is, as shown in the Hogan lawsuit, they were being financially rewarded substantially for their misconduct and so they gambled that nobody would have the resources and determination to stop them - a gamble they ultimately lost - or not, given the fact that Denton may have successfully stolen hundreds of millions from his creditors, according to stated reports of his wealth.


Holy shit. That’s EXACTLY what it was.

Even more amazing was the judge in Hogan’s hometown of Miami refusing even a short a stay for appeal despite the lower court’s order representing a death sentence for a publication.


That’s exactly not what it was. Is the American public so dumb and misguided it really believes this? There are plenty of opportunities to call a spade a spade when it comes to a rich person influencing the system. This is clearly not one of them. See Desslock’s post above this one, explains it well.

Committing illegal and tort-capable acts is what doomed Gawker. Not the press, or a rich person, or our legal system. They purposefully and willfully destroyed themselves. End of story. Let this be a warning to tabloid mags and websites that revolve around invasion of privacy and profiting off of scumbags who do not own the rights and permissions of the people they try to profit off of. If CNN would have shown this tape (their general counsel would never have allowed that because he understands the law), CNN would have been sued.

Gawker took a risk and profited off a video the seller did not have rights to. They didn’t get Hulk Hogan’s permission. The law is extremely clear here and they know it. Furthermore they didn’t care, even after warned many times. They played the “freedom of the press” card, like idiots.

Good riddance to idiots. You guys should be happy that then idiots lost, that’s the way the world should work! Idiots should not be successful! The system works!


As noted in Wired:

Wherever those writers land, Gawker’s shuttering is a sobering reality check not just for its own employees but journalists in general. Whether or not you agreed with its approach, Gawker’s willingness to push limits and stir controversy underscores the whole point of the First Amendment.

Nobody says they weren’t reckless or careless, and nobody says they didn’t deserve to be held accountable for breaking any laws. The case, though – and the activity around it – was a lot more nuanced than that. The legal maneuvering that led both to the outsized penalty and to the serious restrictions on their ability to defend themselves against it (let alone pay for it with the insurance carried for that purpose) were both directly attributable to the massive bankroll of Peter Thiel.

This wasn’t about a single case. This was a vendetta, and as long as he kept it up, Gawker was eventually going to lose. All of this starts and ends with a rich guy who didn’t like the perfectly legal story that someone wrote about him.

That’s what makes this a tragedy – the tragedy being not the loss of Gawker, but the way it happened. The fact that Gawker was often considered sleazy or unethical is beside the point: if you only protect the speech you like, you lose your freedom of speech.


“The whole point of the First Amendment” LOL


No, that was pretty much the point. If you ruin people’s lives by making their private affairs public and then act like you’re above the legal system (hey, remember when Gawker said under oath that they’d draw the line for posting a sex tape at 4 years old?), there will be repercussions.


The very last thing Gawker published was a twisted pack of lies. Rot in hell Gawker.


I don’t see how Hogan keeps most of it on appeal. Florida law doesn’t really support his case that well and the damages awarded have no basis in reality. $60 for mental anguish is insane for… anything. Watching your newborn’s skull being crushed during birth doesn’t get you remotely close to those numbers and that’s a hell of a lot more traumatic than something you’re going on talk shows to talk to strangers about like you’re talking about what you had for lunch. $60 million would be “you’re permanently catatonic in a room someplace because of this” levels of trauma, and even then you wouldn’t get anything close to 60.

And the punitive damages, according to Florida law "cannot result in economic castigation or bankruptcy.” Well, they did, so… yeah.

I mean Gawker is gone regardless. Or sold or whatever, so it’s a fairly moot point at the end of the day other than whatever precedent it sets (which is probably none since it’s kind of contained to Florida and will likely be appealed anyway). The world is probably a better place without them, but it’s still an iffy scenario, imo.


Yeah, as horrible as Gawker is, how this came about is scary. What is really scary is if Hulk lost, he would have bank rolled the next one, and then the next one. It wasn’t a question of justice, but a question of time. And that’s the problem I have. When you are a target of a billionaire, you have lost. Just a matter of when and how, not if. And that is the message this lawsuit sends.

I can’t believe that Gawker lost though. Hulk Hogan bragged about this on radio, and he is a celebrity. How is this not a public matter?


So only people who can’t afford to see the litigation process through should be able to sue these large corporations? And Gawker died because they kept going over the line and getting sued, so yes eventually someone will win. Wouldn’t it have been easier if they hadn’t been enormous assholes who kept getting into that situation in the first place?