Nick Denton and Gawker Media settle Hogan lawsuit, agrees to take three down stories
The founder of Gawker, Nick Denton, today posted on his blog that a settlement has been reached between the parties in the Hulk Hogan case, Bollea v. Gawker. Terry Gene Bollea, AKA Hulk Hogan, sued Gawker Media for posting portions of a sex tape of Bollea with Heather Clem. This spring, a jury found against Gawker Media and awarded Hogan $115 million in compensatory damages and $25 million in punitive damages.
Later it was learned that the case had been funded by Silicon Vallye billionaire Peter Thiel, a Donald Trump supporter, who has expressed his distain for both democracy and the right of women to vote.
“After four years of litigation funded by a billionaire with a grudge going back even further, a settlement has been reached,” Denton wrote. “The saga is over.”
The terms of the settlement were not disclosed (though one source said court documents show it was $31 million), but what is known is that Denton has agreed to take down three stories, which Denton called the “unpalatable part of the deal.”
Since the jury judgement, Gawker Media had filed for bankruptcy, and Univision won the auction to acquire allt he Gawker sites except Gawker.com itself – Gizmodo, Lifehacker, Deadspin, Jezebel, Kotaku and Jalopnik.
“It’s a shame the Hogan trial took place without the motives of the plaintiff’s backer being known,” Denton said. “If there is a lasting legacy from this experience, it should be a new awareness of the danger of dark money in litigation finance. And that’s surely in the spirit of the transparency Gawker was founded to promote. As for Peter Thiel himself, he is now for a wider group of people to contemplate.”