Hulk Hogan vs Gawker trial: Total damages now $140.1 million

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.

Reuters journalist Felix Salmon would like to see a list of those "cheering" the verdict. Perhaps we can expect an article on that.

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.

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Dabitch's picture

This GQ article has a different glow today: "Gawker Ex-Editor A.J. DeLaurio: The Worldwide Leader in Sextapes"

Before posting the photos and voice mails, Daulerio argued with Gawker's lawyer and chief operating officer, Gaby Darbyshire, over legal exposure. "She's like, 'You're willing to go to jail for this? It's just a dong shot,' " Daulerio recalls. "And I'm like, 'It's fucking Brett Favre's cock shot.' So yeah. If Brett Favre sued or [the pictures] were subpoenaed—I don't think they'd send me to jail for that, but given the choice, sure."

Dabitch's picture

Reminder, back when Carol Burnett sued The Enquirer they tried the first amendment defense as well. CAROL BURNETT GIVEN $1.6 MILLION IN SUIT AGAINST NATIONAL ENQUIRER

The publication based much of its defense on what Mr. Masterson termed ''the First Amendment issue,'' or the press's Constitutional right to report the news without restraint.

''I speak not only for a client but also for a principle, and that is the freedom of the press - your right to know,'' Mr. Masterson said in his closing argument.

''There are some who may feel that some news is more important than other,'' Mr. Masterson said, apparently alluding to The Enquirer's reputation for reporting on the activities of show business and jet set celebrities. He added that 'according to the Supreme Court, news is news, period,'' and ''it's all entitled to the same protection'' under the First Amendment.