Gawker v Hulk Hogan: A Settlement Ends the Saga

Gawker, the inflammatory media outlet, shut down a couple months ago due to some nasty business with Terry Bollea, universally-known as Hulk Hogan. Following a $140 million judgement in August, founder Nick Denton filed for personal bankruptcy and Gawker spiraled into Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Univision Communications bought Gawker Media Group for $135 million, saving several of the company's publications but laying Gawker to rest.

After a 4-year long legal battle, the issue has finally resolved itself to the tune of $31 million, quite a bit less than what the Florida jury agreed that Hogan was owed. When the amount was first announced, Denton wrote an article outlining the true reason for the trial. Apparently, Gawker's coverage of the sex tape dredged up bitter memories of past recordings in which Hogan used damning commentary and inappropriate terms. Denton claims that just days after Gawker released their article, Hogan sent a text message to radio host Bubba Clem saying, "We know there's more than one tape out there and a one that has several racist slurs were told. I have a [pay-per-view special] and I am not waiting for anymore surprises ..." Evidently, the lawsuit was a distraction, an attempt to scare others away from digging into Hogan's past.

In regards to the jury's exorbitant sum, Denton says this: 
They appear to have bought the argument that a single popular article, which carried no advertising and which stimulated no sustained increase in traffic, had increased Gawker's brand value by $15 million, and that the wrestler should be paid $4.95 for each view of the video on Gawker's sites as well as many others over which we had no control, racking up an additiona $35 million. And they awarded him $60 million for emotional distress with precious little evidence that he actually experienced any ... 
The settlement was revealed ahead of the disclosure statement hearing in court. From the get-go, Denton believed that the appeals court would decrease the amount owed to Hogan. He was correct in that. However, the ruthlessness of Gawker's true rival, Peter Thiel, is what finally pushed the parties involved to agree on a settlement. Thiel funded the lawyer who handled Hogan's lawsuit among others; such things are but a passing penny to someone whose net worth is $2.7 billion. In a blog post, Denton says that the parties reached a settlement agreement "that allows us all to move on, and focus on activities more productive than endless litigation."

Three stories have been removed from Gawker's archive following the trial: 
  1. Hulk Hogan's sex tape scandal
  2. Shiva Ayyadurai's (husband of actress Fran Drescher) invention of a fake email 
  3. Tinder founders' feud
David Houstan, Hogan's lawyer, said in a statement, "As with any negotiation for resolution, all parties have agreed it is time to move on." 

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