As we wrote about earlier, Hulk Hogan was awarded $115 million in court stemming from a sex tape featuring Hogan that was released by Gawker Media in 2012. The jury decided that the release of the video was an invasion of Hogan’s privacy and is forcing the website publisher to compensate him for it. The $115 million doesn’t even include any punitive damages. Can Gawker even afford to pay him.
According to Florida law, Gawker has to put up $50 million even before appealing, which they will do. Gawker founder and CEO Nick Denton has said this will bankrupt the company. They simply can’t afford to lose the $50 million. So will Gawker be forced to close up shop? Is that even a good thing?
Hulk Hogan was the winner in all of this, right? Remember though, this video that was released barely qualifies as a sex tape. It was only a couple of minutes long. The intention wasn’t to show Hogan having sex. They just wanted mock Hogan and point out that no one really wants to watch him have sex. And a few years later, a new tape came out featuring Hogan. In this one he made racial comments which led to him losing sponsors and his relationship with the WWE. I never thought Hogan deserved our sympathy, but obviously this jury did.
Gawker has done some really questionable things throughout their history. They outed the CFO of a rival company, Conde Nast, just last year. They revealed the identity of a controversial reddit user which resulting in a temporary ban of all Gawker links on the site. This is what Gawker does. They’ll post anything, good or bad. You might think what they do is wrong, but is it illegal? I never believed so.
If this is the end of Gawker, should we be happy? There’s more to Gawker Media than just gawker.com. Gawker Media also owns the sports blog Deadspin, the tech blog Gizmodo, the gaming blog Kotaku, and the women’s blog Jezebel. If Gawker Media goes down then these blogs will punished for the sins of their father. That’s a lot of good work being thrown out. Is this really what we want?
We’re not rooting for Gawker’s demise but if that’s how it’s going to be then you can always stick around here a little longer. We promise not to post any Hulk Hogan sex tapes. And please don’t send us any Hulk Hogan sex tapes. We really don’t want to see them.