Hulk Hogan, whose real name is Terry Bollea, has won a $140 million jury verdict in a lawsuit against Gawker Media. According to an article published by the Boston Globe about $10 million of the lawsuit is was paid by Peter Thiel, a co-founder of PayPal and an early investor of Facebook. In 2012, Gawker Media published the now infamous sex tape of Hogan. His lawyer Charles J. Harden immediately filed the lawsuit against the company.
The reasoning behind the filing “we needed to send a message,” Harden said at his decision of holding a press conference. According to CBS News, Co-founder and CEO of Gawker Media Nick Denton is feuding with Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel. The billionaire confirmed last week that he secretly spent about $10 million in bankrolling lawsuits against Gawker. In 2007, Gawker’s Valleywag posted an article on their blog that was titled, “Peter Thiel is totally gay, people.” According to Forbes Magazine Harden’s firm was paid by Thiel to represent Hogan.
According to The Globe, the article written by Gawker on Thiel he believed that the series of articles about his friends and other people “ruined people’s lives for no reason.” This caused him to fund a team of lawyers and find “victims” of Gawker’s coverage and bring forth lawsuits against the company.
“It’s less about revenge and more about specific deterrence, he said on Wednesday in his first interview since his identity was revealed. “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.”
According to Forbes, Gawker has been sued 11 times in federal courts since 2013. Hogan has since filed a second lawsuit earlier this month alleging that he had been extorted before the publication of his sex tape. In an interview with The New York Times, Thiel said that he has spent an estimated $10 million to fund lawsuits against Gawker.
“It’s safe to say this is not the only one,” Thiel told the Times, when asked which other cases he has backed.
Denton released a statement which read “Just because Peter Thiel is a Silicon Valley billionaire, his opinion does not trump our millions of readers who know us for routinely driving big news stories including Hillary Clinton’s secret email account, Bill Cosby’s history with women, the mayor of Toronto as a crack smoker, Tom Cruise’s role within Scientology, the NFL cover-up of domestic abuse by players and just this month the hidden power of Facebook to determine the news you see.”