Hulk Hogan Gets $115M in Gawker Sex Tape Lawsuit

Is it the end of Gawker?
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 18, 2016 6:50 PM CDT
Hulk Hogan Gets $115M in Gawker Sex Tape Lawsuit
Hulk Hogan was awarded $115 million in his lawsuit against Gawker for publishing a sex tape featuring the former professional wrestler.   (Dirk Shadd/The Tampa Bay Times via AP, Pool)

Former professional wrestler Hulk Hogan was awarded $115 million by a jury Friday in his lawsuit against Gawker, which published a sex tape featuring the Hulkster in 2012, the AP reports. It's $15 million more than he was asking. According to Ars Technica, which points out punitive damages could still be added to the total, the loss in court could be a "life-threatening event" for Gawker, which has around 250 employees. Gawker published a video of Hogan having sex with the wife of his friend Todd Clem—aka Bubba the Love Sponge—made at Clem's insistence. Clem had recorded the encounter, possibly without Hogan's knowledge. Hogan cried when the jury revealed its findings after nearly six hours of deliberations, CNN reports.

In their closing arguments Friday, Hogan's lawyers argued the video was a violation of his privacy. "Gawker took a secretly recorded sex tape and put it on the Internet," the AP quotes Hogan's attorneys. Gawker's attorneys argued the site had a "legitimate news reason" for publishing the video as a "commentary on the ordinariness of celebrity sex videos." One of the website's lawyers went on to warn that if Hogan's suit was successful, "the Internet as we know it will cease to exist." In addition to Gawker, the jury found founder Nick Denton and former editor Albert Daulerio (who made headlines for saying he'd consider publishing the sex tape of anyone over the age of 5) personally liable. Gawker says it only made about $11,000 from publishing the sex tape and took outside investment for the first time to cover potential costs from the trial. (More Hulk Hogan stories.)

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