Speed Reads

media matters

Could Hulk Hogan destroy Gawker?

Peter Sterne at Capital New York reports that the popular website Gawker could be undone by none other than former wrestler Hulk Hogan, who is suing the company for $100 million for publishing portions of a 2006 sex tape featuring Hogan having sex with Heather Clem, wife of a shock jock named Bubba the Love Sponge Clem. The case goes to trial in a Florida court on July 6, and things could get existential for Gawker, according to Sterne:

A loss, and an award of even a fraction of the $100 million Hogan’s attorneys are seeking, could empty the company’s coffers, forcing [Gawker Media CEO Nick] Denton to either sell the company outright or to hand much of its equity over to deep-pocketed investors. [Capital New York]

The case, legally speaking, centers on whether the video is of "public concern." But it may simply boil down to whether a jury drawn from Hogan's hometown in Florida will side with Hogan or a distant New York media conglomerate. "There's a very real possibility that Gawker will lose the jury trial," Sterne writes.

Update: Denton confirmed the crux of the story and responded. Ryu Spaeth