Speed Reads

the saga is over

Gawker reaches $31 million settlement with Hulk Hogan

Gawker founder and former CEO Nick Denton wrote in a blog post that the company has settled its four-year-long legal battle involving Hulk Hogan, a case that ultimately resulted in the bankruptcy and sale of the popular website and blog network. Hogan had sued Gawker claiming that the site's publication of a sex tape with him in it was emotionally damaging. A Florida jury awarded Hogan $140 million in damages earlier this year.

In his post, Denton wrote:

After four years of litigation funded by a billionaire with a grudge going back even further, a settlement has been reached. The saga is over.

As the most unpalatable part of the deal, three true stories  —  about Hulk Hogan, the claim by Shiva Ayyadurai that he invented email, and the feud between the founders of Tinder  —  are being removed from the web.

Yes, we were confident the appeals court would reduce or eliminate the runaway Florida judgment against Gawker, the writer of the Hogan story, and myself personally. And we expected to prevail in those other two lawsuits by clients of Charles Harder, the lawyer backed by Peter Thiel. [NickDenton.org]

Denton did not say specifically what the terms were, although documents show Gawker settled with Hogan for $31 million, plus some of the proceeds from Gawker's sale to Univision for $135 million.

Denton added that an "all-out legal war with [Peter] Thiel," the Silicon valley billionaire bankrolling Hogan's lawsuit, "would have cost too much, and hurt too many people, and there was no end in sight." Thiel, who was outed as being gay by Gawker, told CNBC that "it's less about revenge and more about specific deterrence. I saw Gawker pioneer a unique and incredibly damaging way of getting attention by bullying people even when there was no connection with the public interest."