ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – The Latest on Hulk Hogan’s lawsuit against Gawker (all times local):
Billionaire Peter Thiel says he bankrolled Hulk Hogan’s lawsuit against Gawker Media because he “thought it was worth fighting back” against an outlet he calls a “singularly terrible bully.”
The PayPal co-founder and early Facebook investor tells The New York Times that Hogan’s lawsuit is one of several against Gawker that he has financially backed.
Thiel told the newspaper his plan has been several years in the making. He was publicly outed as gay in a 2007 post on the company’s Valleywag blog. Still, he says his motive is “less about revenge and more about specific deterrence.”
Hogan won a $140 million verdict against Gawker in March. The company plans to appeal a judge’s denial Wednesday of a new trial or a reduction in the verdict’s amount.
News reports say pro wrestler Hulk Hogan’s legal battle against Gawker has been secretly backed by Silicon Valley venture capitalist Peter Thiel.
Hogan won a $140 million invasion-of-privacy verdict two months ago against Gawker for posting a sex tape of him.
Thiel, who co-founded PayPal and was an early investor in Facebook, was outed as gay by a Gawker-owned website in 2007.
Legal experts say there’s nothing illegal about someone financing a lawsuit.
Hogan and Gawker were back in a Florida court Wednesday. Judge Pamela Campbell denied Gawker’s request for a new trial and refused to reduce the damages. Gawker vows to take the case to an appeals court.
Thiel, whose net worth is estimated by Forbes at $2.7 billion, didn’t immediately respond to interview requests.