Gawker settles Hulk Hogan sex tape lawsuit

WASHINGTON, Nov. 2 (UPI) — Former Gawker Media CEO Nick Denton on Wednesday said the company reached a settlement with Hulk Hogan over the former wrestler’s lawsuit related to a sex tape.

Denton made the announcement through a blog post in which he specifically mentions billionaire Peter Thiel’s involvement in the case.

“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.”

Hogan’s suit said Gawker posted a video online showing the wrestler engaged in sexual activity with the wife of a Florida radio disc jockey. The jury agreed with the suit’s claim that Gawker’s actions caused emotional distress and awarded $140 million to Hogan, an award that was upheld in an appeals court.

Denton said he was confident an appeals court would eventually “reduce or eliminate the runaway Florida judgment against Gawker” but he said a settlement was reached because the company cannot afford to continue.

“All-out legal war with Thiel would have cost too much, and hurt too many people, and there was no end in sight. The Valley billionaire, famously relentless, had committed publicly to support Hulk Hogan beyond the appeal and ‘until his final victory.’ Gawker’s nemesis was not going away,” Denton wrote.

Denton said that Thiel’s involvement cost him less than 1 percent of his net worth. Spanish-language broadcaster Univision Holdings Inc. bought bankrupt Gawker for a reported $135 million at auction in August.

Denton did not disclose the terms of the settlement but CNBC reported Hogan would receive $31 million.

“It’s a shame the Hogan trial took place without the motives of the plaintiff’s backer being known. If there is a lasting legacy from this experience, it should be a new awareness of the danger of dark money in litigation finance,” Denton added.


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