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Jury awards Hulk Hogan 115 million in Gawker trial

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.

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Dabitch's picture

Nick Denton's statement makes it clear that this is just "round 1"

Given key evidence and the most important witness were both improperly witheld from this jury, we all knew the appeals court will need to resolve the case. I want to thank our lawyers for their outstanding work and am confident that we would have prevailed at trial had we been allowed to present the full case to the jury. That's why we feel very positive about the appeal that we have already begun preparing, as we expect to win this case ultimately.

Several Gawker writers were seen tweeting similar "we will win on appeal" thoughts on Friday before the lawyers had even made their final statements. From that we can deduce that the trial was likely discussed internally, and the outcome of this trial was not a surprise to Gawker at all.

David Felton's picture

I don't know much about Hulkmania, but based on this statement it sounds like Nick Denton has a particularly nasty and sociopathic case of egomania.

Dabitch's picture

The photos of Hulk chosen for articles are interesting. Those who choose unflattering images of Terry Bollea in court are attempting to sway the readers. This is a pretty standard tactic, but it surprises me how many outlets have decided to disregard all objectivity these days. Photo editors are suddenly quite blunt. I'm surprised that Adweek chose this picture for their articles: adweek 1 , adweek 2.