Hulk Hogan Awarded $115 Million In Sex Tape Lawsuit Against Gawker
Hulk Hogan was awarded $115 million in his sex tape lawsuit against Gawker on Friday.
After deliberating for less than a day, a Florida jury determined Gawker Media violated Hogan’s right to privacy when it posted two minutes of footage from his sex tape on its website in 2012. Only nine seconds of that showcased actual sex. But in 2013, Hogan sued Gawker for $100 million, plus punitive damages.
Now, according to the six jurors in St. Petersburg, Hogan actually deserves $115 million, and it could be decided on Monday to give him more in punitive damages. It’s unlikely, however, that Hogan will receive that full amount. Gawker is expected to appeal the verdict, and while that is pending, the company will have to put up a bond which Florida law caps at $50 million.
As Gossip Cop reported, Hogan testified last week that he was left “humiliated” and “shaking” when he found out that explicit video of him having sex with the then-wife of his friend Bubba The Love Sponge had leaked. While never revealing the source of the footage, Gawker’s defense team argued during the two-week trial that it was exercising the media company’s 1st Amendment right to cover what it deemed a news story when it posted the clip online. In attempting to make its case, the outlet pointed to Hogan’s own prior discussion of his sex life and the video in question during previous media appearances.
But as Hogan never gave consent to Gawker for publishing the material, the jurors apparently felt his privacy was indeed invaded. Hogan cried in court when the verdict was announced, with the legal victory coming nearly eight months after WWE cut ties with the wrestler after discovering he went on a racist rant involving the N-word.
While no doubt a severe loss, Gawker braced itself for the jury to rule in Hogan’s favor. After deliberations began following closing arguments on Monday morning, the company released a statement noting it would look to the “appeals court to resolve this case,” should that become necessary. Among the arguments the site will have is a number of just-unsealed documents that the jurors were unable to consider while deliberating.
Gawker founder Nick Denton, who was among the defendants in the suit, says in a statement, “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.” He goes on, “I want to thank our lawyers for their outstanding work and am confident that we would have prevailed at trial if we had been allowed to present the full case to the jury. That’s why we feel very positive about the appeal that we have already begun preparing, as we expect to win this case ultimately.”
On the opposing side, Hogan’s legal team says, “We’re exceptionally happy with the verdict. We think it represents a statement as to the public’s disgust with the invasion of privacy disguised as journalism. The verdict says no more.”
Hogan also tweeted, “Thank you God for justice,only love 4Life. HH.” The star, whose real name is Terry Boella, is pictured above during his testimony last Tuesday.