Hulk Hogan Wins Gawker Sex Tape Trial, Awarded $115 Million
Hulk Hogan has won his lawsuit against Gawker Media, as the former WWE star was awarded $115 million in damages.
The six-person jury made the judgment in Florida court against not just Gawker Media, but founder Nick Denton and editor A.J. Daulerio. Hogan was awarded $55 million for economic hardship and $60 million for emotional distress, as the illegally released sex tape caused severe damage to his reputation and the stability of his family. It all started in 2012 when Gawker posted a two-minute segment from the sex tape, which featured Hogan having sex with the wife of his former friend/radio host Bubba “The Love Sponge” Clem, who was the man behind the camera. Hogan claimed violation of privacy, stating he was unaware he was being filmed. Hell, even if he had agreed to be filmed, he never gave permission for the video to be posted online, in any case. The subsequent trial led to lengthy discussions about Hogan’s alleged penis size, and other intimate details of the wrestler’s life. When the judge read the verdict, Hogan reportedly burst into tears.
“Mr. Bollea is exceptionally happy. This is not only his victory today, but also anyone else who’s been victimized by tabloid journalism,” said Hogan’s lawyer, David Houston, outside the courtroom.
Gawker is planning on appealing the verdict, as Denton read from a prepared statement after the ruling: “Given key evidence and the most important witness were both improperly withheld from this jury, we all knew the appeals court will need to resolve the case. … That’s why we feel very positive about the appeal that we have already begun preparing, as we expect to win this case ultimately.”
Of course, an appeal will be a pricey venture for Gawker, since the company will need to post a bond for the full amount of damages. This means an amount capped at roughly $50 million per Florida state law. It could be years before Hogan sees any of the money he’s been awarded, but this is a major blow to Gawker Media just the same.
What do you think of the verdict in the Hulk Hogan v Gawker trial? Sound off in the comments!
And for more on the trial, watch ex-wife Linda Hogan’s emotional statement about what the Hulkster’s actions have done to their family.