A jury determined the right to privacy, specifically Terry Bollea's privacy, had been breached, turning in a verdict against Gawker worth 115 million dollars. Bollea, who everyone knows better as Hulk Hogan, had brought the suit against Gawker after they posted a sex tape of Hogan with Heather Cole, the then wife of best friend Todd Alan Clem, aka "Bubba The Love Sponge", back in 2012.
In what can only be described as hubris on display, editor A.J. Daulerio, who wrote a blow-by-blow (pun intended) essay of the sex tape in question, had made such brazen blunders as declaring sarcastically that the only time he wouldn't consider a sex tape wnewsworthy, is if the person in question were a four year-old child.
The two week trial saw many such idiotic arrogance on the part of Gawker, including a taped deposition of founder Nick Denton and other staffers who under examination were forced to explain how their brand of yellow journalism could hold any sort of muster.
While the testimony lasted two weeks, it didn't take the jury long to come to a verdict, a mere six hours in fact. Gawker plans to appeal as it already did from the start.
Ultimately the decision came down to whether Hulk Hogan's public persona was enough to justify posting a private sex tape. Today at least, a court has upheld the 14th amendment over the first. In a case where Gawker was portrayed by Hogan's lawyers as being nothing more than salacious money grabbers, hell-bent on getting clicks at any price.
Despite the sensationalist nature of the trial, the jury's decision has set a major precedent in the same way that the News Of The World hacking scandal did just a few years back. In that case, journalists were accused of bribing police and hacking phone lines of celebrities, royalty, and even murder victims in order to get a big scoop. This case culminated in Rebekah Brooks, Andy Coulson and others being fined and in Coulson's case send to prison for it. With Nick Denton also being from across the pond I have to ask, what the hell is wrong with British journalists?
Despite the fact Gawker will appeal and have planned all along to appeal since they knew they were going to lose, Ultimately it's a good day for those of us who don't think Gawker should get away with whatever the hell they want to, be it attempting to out a non public figure, or just trying to gin up news by trolling brands like Coke. We've said it before, we'll say it again: Gawker is toxic. For society in general. For individuals. And for brands. I am really hoping the latter will wake up and start pulling their ads. There are better places to spend your media dollars.