Founder and former CEO of Gawker Media LLC, Nick Denton announced that the company is settling its case with Hulk Hogan. Terms of settlement were not disclosed but documents stated that the case was settled for $31 million plus a piece of the proceeds from Gawkers sale to Univision.
“It’s a shame the Hogan trial took place without the motives of the plaintiff’s backer being known,” Denton wrote. “If there is a lasting legacy from this experience, it should be a new awareness of the danger of dark money in litigation finance. And that’s surely in the spirit of the transparency Gawker was founded to promote. As for Peter Thiel himself, he is now for a wider group of people to contemplate.”
Hogan had sued Gawker, Denton and writer AJ Daulerio for posting a sex tape featuring him. Hogan was awarded $140 million in June. "It's less about revenge and more about specific deterrence," Thiel previously told CNBC. "I saw Gawker pioneer a unique and incredibly damaging way of getting attention by bullying people even when there was no connection with the public interest."
Denton stated that an appeals court would reduce the multimillion-dollar settlement, but to fund the prolonged legal battle would not be worth the trouble.
"For Thiel, an investor in Facebook and Palantir, the cost of this exercise is less than 1 percent of his net worth and a little additional notoriety," Denton wrote. "The other protagonists — including Hulk Hogan and A.J. Daulerio, the author of the Gawker story about him — had much more at stake. That motivated a settlement that allows us all to move on, and focus on activities more productive than endless litigation. Life is short, for most of us."
Although Gawker had declared bankruptcy in June, Univision had acquired the company for $135 million in August.