A jury has awarded former wresting star Hulk Hogan $25.1 million in punitive damages Monday in his invasion-of-privacy case against Gawker Media. The decision brings the total damages in the case to $140.1 million.
"Your verdict will send a chill down the spine of publishers, writers and producers throughout the country." argued Gawker lawyer Michael Berry before the jury, stating that the $115 million already awarded was punishment enough. The Jury didn't buy that, however, and decided that Gawker should pay $15 million in punitive damages and that Denton should pay $10 million. Albert J. Daulerio, who was editor in chief of Gawker.com at the time that the sex video was published, was ordered to pay $100,000.
On Twitter reactions vary, there are those who steadfast believe in the appeal will overturn this, as Nick Denton hopes, but I do not think invading Terry Bollea's privacy further will win the hearts of another jury. There are those who think this is a slippery slope, and those who retort that Gawker threw themselves off a proverbial cliff, as you can see here in the discourse between NYT columnist Joe Nocera and reporter / author Alex Berenson. But don't worry, Florida jury trials don’t set precedent, free speech is not at risk.
— Alex Berenson (@AlexBerenson) March 19, 2016
Reuters journalist Felix Salmon would like to see a list of those "cheering" the verdict. Perhaps we can expect an article on that.
Is someone compiling a list of the media types who are loudly cheering the Gawker verdict? I don't want to forget who they are.
— Felix Salmon (@felixsalmon) March 19, 2016
In the end, this is about privacy, not free speech - it's not a first amendment right to invade the bedrooms of celebrities in order to make a buck off of them. If you can publish secret footage of a sex act in a private bedroom without the consent of those involved, there is literally no such thing as privacy for anyone. I value my privacy, and have no interest in spying into anyones bedroom. Gawker publishes all sorts of sex tapes, including the "ad agency sex tape" that the old "Superspy" agency spy editor somehow got wind of. Editor A.J. Daulerio had a callous response to a woman who was possibly raped, when she begged him to remove her sex tape. Not every woman is a Paris Hilton or Kim Kardashian, who somehow turn leaked sex tapes into celebrity careers.
Salon.com writer Mary Elizabeth Williams who has been the subject of Gawker roasting, had no problem celebrating the verdict.
Friday night round of Gawker tears for everybody they gleefully inflicted pain on.
— Mary Beth Williams (@embeedub) March 18, 2016