Gawker settled its ongoing case with wrestler Hulk Hogan for $31 million dollars Wednesday. The New York Times reports:
Court documents indicate the settlement is for $31 million. Less than eight months ago, a Florida jury awarded the wrestler, whose real name is Terry G. Bollea, $140 million in damages in an invasion of privacy lawsuit over Gawker.com’s publication of a video that showed Mr. Bollea having sex with a friend’s wife. Gawker will forgo its appeal of that judgment.
In March, when Hulk Hogan won the $140 million judgment, Gawker’s Nick Denton released a statement promising a different outcome after an appeal. But today Denton released another statement in which he threw in the towel:
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…
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.
But all-out legal war with Thiel would have cost too much, and hurt too many people, and there was no end in sight.
Denton’s letter goes on to say it was time to move on because, “Life is short for most of us.” It concludes with another shot at Peter Thiel, the Silicon Valley investor who provided financial backing to Hogan and two others who sued Gawker:
If there is a lasting legacy from this experience, it should be a new awareness of the danger of dark money in litigation finance. And that’s surely in the spirit of the transparency Gawker was founded to promote.As for Peter Thiel himself, he is now for a wider group of people to contemplate.
After Gawker lost the lawsuit in March, it put itself and it’s various spin-off sites up for sale. The other sites—Gizmodo, Lifehacker, Deadspin, Jalopnik and others—were purchased by Univision in August. Gawker itself was shuttered as part of the deal.
Peter Thiel released a statement Wednesday saying, “It is a great day for Terry Bollea and a great day for everyone’s right to privacy.”