Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Compare cell phone plans using Wirefly's innovative plan comparison tool ×
Government Media Privacy Social Networks News Your Rights Online Entertainment Technology

Jury Orders Gawker To Pay $115 Million To Hulk Hogan In Sex Tape Lawsuit (zerohedge.com) 236

An anonymous reader writes: [Hogan's attorneys told jurors this is the core of the case:] "Gawker took a secretly recorded sex tape and put it on the Internet." And now they are paying for it, dearly. Also notable is that there doesn't seem to be anyone interested in defending them, as even the Twitter community (if it can truly be called that) has come out strongly in favor of the ruling against Gawker. Maybe they should have at least made more friends? They did make $6.5 million in net income in 2014 and their Wikipedia article states that they were last sold in 2009 for $300 million, so while they may not be put out of business, it seems likely they will at least be [changing] hands, and soon, with the jury ruling $55 million for economic injuries and $60 million for emotional distress. I think that's jury-speak for "body slam."
According to Ars Technica, Gawker Media was one of the first successful, large, digital-only news companies. "The stunning sum, which may have punitive damages added to it, is a life-threatening event for the New York-based network of news and gossip sites."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Jury Orders Gawker To Pay $115 Million To Hulk Hogan In Sex Tape Lawsuit

Comments Filter:
  • Good. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kuzb ( 724081 ) on Saturday March 19, 2016 @03:09PM (#51732697)

    It's time gawker got kicked in the balls for their shitty reporting practices. My only regret is that the hulkster is not allowed to use the piile-driver on the CEO in the court room following the verdict.

  • by Improv ( 2467 ) <pgunn01@gmail.com> on Saturday March 19, 2016 @03:10PM (#51732707) Homepage Journal

    It feels very strange to me that someone could be set for life, catapaulted to wealth far beyond what most individuals might accrue, based on a legal judgement like this.

    • by digitalderbs ( 718388 ) on Saturday March 19, 2016 @03:15PM (#51732759)

      I don't disagree that the amount seems excessive. However, you can't compare him to a regular person. The personal damage could be comparable to a regular person--and the damages should be comparable. However, a large part of the damages here are for professional damages. I'd be surprised if the professional damages were that high too, but I guess the jury did not. It appears he was fired from the WWE over this.

      The number will escalate too, as they haven't added on punitive damages, and he's also getting money from the CEO and editor at the time.

      • I'd be surprised if the professional damages were that high too, but I guess the jury did not. It appears he was fired from the WWE over this.

        He was actually fired for the racist rant that appeared in the video, over his daughter's relationship with a black fellow, rather than for the sex scene itself...

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        A lot of it is punitive. Has to be otherwise fines won't have much affect on large corporations when the victim is an ordinary person who only lost maybe a few hundred k max.

      • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

        So the damage is the result of him marketing himself as a sexual powerhouse and the reality of being exposed as a 'er' little finger and thus he is no longer able to lie and make money by putting down other men as little fingers http://www.stuff.co.nz/oddstuf... [stuff.co.nz], so is this court rage by a similarly afflicted judge and jury. So should you really be able to claim damages for no longer be able to tell lies and profit by doing so whilst damaging the psychology of 'er' little finger afflicted males. So who sho

    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 19, 2016 @03:20PM (#51732803)

      This isn't just compensating the victim, this is also about punishment. The only way to punish a corporation is in its balance sheet.

      All too often, we see fines levied against huge corps that are pretty much chump change to them. If you make millions or billions from misconduct, a few million dollars in fines is nothing - it's the cost of doing business.

      So, good for the Hogan! If it drives Gawker out of business, well fuck'em! I just hope that if the editorial staff tries to start another company like this, the investors do due diligence and realize the type of people they're dealing with.

    • The amount needs to be enough to make sure that the perpetrator doesn't do it again. If the amount were $500k, then Gawker would laugh and do the same thing next time.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 19, 2016 @03:38PM (#51732947)

      I believe this is the tape that contained Hogan making racial slurs, which caused him to be kicked out of the WWE, lose his toy line, and most of his other various promotions, etc. His source of income is gone.

      He's 62 now, so if he lives another 15 years, that's basically just 8 million dollars a year that he's charging. And his estate has also lost out from sales that would have happened after his death. And don't forget punitive damages.

      $115 million seems fair considering that it was a humiliating invasion of privacy that left his career and estate in ruins and his personal reputation extremely damaged. (For comparison, Erin Andrews got $55 million for being spied on and recorded, which was unquestionably a highly traumatic experience invoked on her by a despicable person, but ultimately it may have helped her career if anything.)

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        Their mistake was not just publishing the racial slurs and nothing else. If they had simply exposed him as a racist it would have been all public interest and absolutely fine. Instead they had to go with the sex tape angle, and in the end it screwed them (pun intended).

      • For comparison, Erin Andrews got $55 million for being spied on and recorded

        Andrews was awarded $55 for negligence that allowed someone else to record her and distribute the recording.. Marriott didn't solicit a recording of Andrews nor did they obtain and distribute the recording.

        Gawker isn't being punished for negligence. They're being punished for deliberately soliciting and distributing a sex tape without the consent of either party in the sex act.

    • It feels very strange to me that someone could be set for life, catapaulted to wealth far beyond what most individuals might accrue, based on a legal judgement like this.

      I doubt the amount will stick, juries really have no idea how much in damages to award though the final number will be interesting to see.

      It really is possible he's lost $55 million in income since his racist comments on the tape really hurt his career. But should Gawker be on the hook for that, even if they were wrong in publishing the tape?

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        It feels very strange to me that someone could be set for life, catapaulted to wealth far beyond what most individuals might accrue, based on a legal judgement like this.

        I doubt the amount will stick, juries really have no idea how much in damages to award though the final number will be interesting to see.

        It really is possible he's lost $55 million in income since his racist comments on the tape really hurt his career. But should Gawker be on the hook for that, even if they were wrong in publishing the tape?

        Note that the summary omits many of the more lurid details of the case, such as:
        -The fact that Gawker defied a court order to remove their posted copy of the sex tape: http://gawker.com/a-judge-told-us-to-take-down-our-hulk-hogan-sex-tape-po-481328088
        -Court testimony by the Gawker reporter accused that they considered anybody above the age of four (not a typo) to be a valid subject for this kind of article: http://nypost.com/2016/03/09/gawker-editors-line-a-sex-tape-of-a-4-year-old/

        The actual testimony is a

      • by KGIII ( 973947 )

        Just because he's a horrible human being doesn't mean he doesn't have rights.

    • by teg ( 97890 )

      It feels very strange to me that someone could be set for life, catapaulted to wealth far beyond what most individuals might accrue, based on a legal judgement like this.

      Indeed. Another case here is Erin Andrews. She was awarded USD 55 million dollars [telegraph.co.uk] from a hotel chain, because a creep had photographed her naked there.

      It didn't do any actual damage - her career seems to have been moving along just fine. And 55 million dollars for not actual damages is utterly and completely insane. When she looks back at this in a couple of years, it will be as one of the best things that ever happened to her - some blurry nude photos of a pretty normal woman, and suddenly her fame fac

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        God almighty. You seriously think that women just love being secretly photographed in the nude by peeping toms?

        Fuck this place has some real degenerates.

        • by Cederic ( 9623 ) on Saturday March 19, 2016 @05:59PM (#51733717) Journal

          I fear your utter misinterpretation of his fairly simple point.

          In related news, hide a camera in my bathroom and the police will be paying you a visit. However, for $55m I'll visit your professional studio so you can photograph me naked. Shit, I'll do a goatse pose and everything.

          • by KGIII ( 973947 )

            55 million? I'll fuck Martha Stewart on national television, during prime time.

    • I think the number must of been designed to hurt Gawker, instead of to appease Hogan. Anything over single digit millions is a ridiculous number for emotional distress and his remaining career was not any where near worth 100 million, but I am unaware what evidence was brought forward to show that it hurt his career at all.

      • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

        I think the number must of been designed to hurt Gawker, instead of to appease Hogan. Anything over single digit millions is a ridiculous number for emotional distress and his remaining career was not any where near worth 100 million, but I am unaware what evidence was brought forward to show that it hurt his career at all.

        Easy, the defense ... was laughable. Let's just say what Gawker did to internet "journalism", they attempted to do same to the judge, jury and the court.

        And the jurors did not take kindly

    • by swb ( 14022 ) on Saturday March 19, 2016 @05:13PM (#51733465)

      I think these amounts awarded to Hogan and Erin Andrews (TV reporter secretly video recorded nude in her hotel room) are excessive when people who are wrongfully convicted of crimes they didn't commit get fractions of that amount after serving many years in prison.

      This guy (http://www.nbcnews.com/id/18715007/) wrongfully convicted of a rape he didn't commit was imprisoned for 18 years and only got $5 million.

      And Hogan gets $115 million and Andrews got $55 million? If you use the $5 million figure for false imprisonment, Hogan would have to have been imprisoned for 415 years to justify that amount, Andrews 198 years.

      Don't get me wrong, both Hogan and Andrews were wronged, but to what extent were their lives ruined the same way being convicted of rape and losing decades of your life to a prison sentence? Hogan's career as anything but somebody famous for being famous is basically over anyway, and I seriously doubt any of his celebrity has been damaged by viewing him having sex.

      Andrews cried crocodile tears on the stand, but how believable is that considering she apparently has no problem continuing to be on TV (new contract, even!)? She's only on TV because of her sex appeal to male sports fans and her entire career since high school has been based around being basically an eye candy accessory (being a cheerleader in high school and college). If anything, her complaint boils down to overexposure, and whatever loss of her allure occurs because now we've seen her naked. She wasn't even caught do anything of the embarrassing "fappening" poses, either, just walking around her hotel room.

      I think $5 million probably isn't enough for someone who was jailed for 18 years, although you can probably make some kind of lost earnings argument that is at least grounded in reality. Hogan and Andrews? I can't even begin to see the justification.

      • While I agree with you that someone who is wrongfully imprisoned should get considerably more money than they do, wrongful convictions are largely about the criminal justice system, whereas in the civil system the jury often decides the award. That being said, if Gawker can come up with the cash to be able to make an appeal (not certain at this point), the award could be dropped significantly.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        ... imprisoned for 18 years and only got $5 million ...

        First, it's a government department paying for the shitty/dishonest behaviour of some prosecuting attorney. Second, after years in prison the wrongfully punished can't afford a good attorney. Normal civil cases don't have these problems. While the government likes to cut a my-'bad'-but-no-fine deal with some corporate legal department, a civil plaintiff wants a measurable result and gets it because juries tend to dislike corporate management.

        ... can't even begin to see the justification.

        This is why most countries don't allow punitive fines in civil

      • Andrews cried crocodile tears on the stand, but how believable is that considering she apparently has no problem continuing to be on TV (new contract, even!)? She's only on TV because of her sex appeal to male sports fans and her entire career since high school has been based around being basically an eye candy accessory (being a cheerleader in high school and college). If anything, her complaint boils down to overexposure, and whatever loss of her allure occurs because now we've seen her naked. She wasn't

        • by swb ( 14022 )

          There are very few "sports reporters" that one could take seriously as actual journalists. I'd grant ex-pro players who actually have experience playing the sport they "report" on some kind of status as experts in their field, but what expertise does Andrews bring to the table?

          Her only sports experience is as a cheerleader. As far as I can tell, her role is on-field "interviewer" where the talent in question is talking into a camera and holding a microphone. Maybe that makes her some kind of a journalist

      • You aren't real bright, are you?

        Sue Gawker for $115m then they are out $115m.

        Sue your local government for $5m ... then YOU ARE THE ONE OUT OF THE $5m and it'll have to be made up via more taxes.

        The reality of it is, Erin Andrews didn't deserve more than an apology and Hulk Hogan doesn't deserve even that.

        NEITHER OF THEM DESERVE ANY MONEY BECAUSE SOMEONE SAW THEM NAKED.

        Do you have any fucking clue how god damn retarded that is? Both of these people spend far more time naked in front of a doctor in a given

        • by swb ( 14022 )

          Sue your local government for $5m ... then YOU ARE THE ONE OUT OF THE $5m and it'll have to be made up via more taxes.

          The public bears the financial obligation because the public ultimately bears the responsibility of a fair and honest criminal justice system. If you don't want to pay $5 million dollars to someone falsely convicted and jailed for two decades, don't falsely convict and jail people or elect/appoint those that do.

          I don't necessarily think that it's smart that the government acts as the primary surety party for misconduct by its agents, as this creates a zero responsibility mindset. You would think that pros

      • I think these amounts awarded to Hogan and Erin Andrews (TV reporter secretly video recorded nude in her hotel room) are excessive when people who are wrongfully convicted of crimes they didn't commit get fractions of that amount after serving many years in prison.

        It's not a question of who is receiving but of who is paying.

        Big penalties paid by corporations to hurt their balance sheet (anything less is ineffective).

        Relatively small penalties paid by the city/state, etc. because these people should get something but at the end of the day it's not the people making the false arrest and imprisonment who pay - it's you and I the taxpayers, when we also haven't done anything wrong.

    • by Intron ( 870560 )

      It feels very strange to me that someone could be set for life, catapaulted to wealth far beyond what most individuals might accrue, based on a legal judgement like this.

      What seems strange to me is that a celebrity can sue and win over someone using their personal data, but not a regular individual. In that case it's their data because you were forced to agree to the fine print where you gave up rights to sue. And just to kick you in the teeth they send you their "privacy policy" every year..

  • LIsten (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 19, 2016 @03:11PM (#51732715)

    Gawker is garbage.

    They lead the charge telling the most astonishing lies about gamers - and getting away with it. They only people crying over this are Gawker's owners and the insane far left SF hordes who used it in their ideological crusade.

    May they rot in hell.

    • by Pluvius ( 734915 )

      Actually, even GamerGhazi is celebrating this decision. Gawker is that bad. The only people defending them are their corrupt buddies in the media (Polygon in particular) who see themselves on the gallows next.

      Rob

  • by Kunedog ( 1033226 ) on Saturday March 19, 2016 @03:18PM (#51732781)
    . . . when your own unethical journalism catches up with you?
  • Everybody thinks they should be punished for publishing images of a naked Hulk Hogan.

  • by Khyber ( 864651 ) <techkitsune@gmail.com> on Saturday March 19, 2016 @03:36PM (#51732925) Homepage Journal

    If the Hulkster hits the punitive jackpot, the total could be as high as $460M.

    That's an utter death blow to Gawker.

    • by wisnoskij ( 1206448 ) on Saturday March 19, 2016 @04:39PM (#51733303) Homepage

      But on the other side. There is a conceivable avenue thorough which Hogan can currently expect payment of his legal winnings. But if he is awarded much more, Gawker just files for bankruptcy, it as a cooperation is destroyed and 99% of their worth (which was always imaginary) goes up in smoke, and maybe Hogan gets a million of two when their office chairs are sold in auction and the couple hundred thousands in operating funds are transferred over to him. Gawker does not have $300 million in gold in their basement, they have a name that is worth money, but if their debts get anywhere near their net worth then it is no longer a viable business and is worthless.

      • One does assume Gawker and its corporate officers have bank accounts. Hogan may not get all the money, but he'll get some.

      • by timholman ( 71886 ) on Saturday March 19, 2016 @07:18PM (#51734131)

        Gawker does not have $300 million in gold in their basement, they have a name that is worth money, but if their debts get anywhere near their net worth then it is no longer a viable business and is worthless.

        I doubt Hogan cares as much about getting all the money as he does about seeing Gawker (and Nick Denton) suffer. Watching Gawker go bankrupt, while still having Denton personally on the hook for millions of dollars, would probably be a completely satisfactory outcome to Hogan.

        Gawker and its subsidiary websites (e.g. Jezebel) are festering boils on the backside of the Internet. Denton has helped nurture the culture of "trial by Internet outrage", "guilty until proven innocent", and "due process only applies to people I approve of" that permeates the world today. I can think of no possible way that the world will be worse off by putting every Gawker site out of business, and Nick Denton in the poorhouse.

        • by DrXym ( 126579 )
          Those sites won't be put out of business. Gawker will sell them to pay off their debts and they'll carry on just the way they did before. Although the new owners might tighten up their legal / editorial policy a little in the transition. Gawker the corporate entity will be toast though as will the careers of those closely associated with it.
          • That's not how it works. Nobody will buy Gawker with this case hanging over it, (because then THEY would be liable for the damages), so if there is a high enough judgement, Gawker will be forced into bankruptcy. If Denton et al. can't get enough money from selling Gawker to pay the judgement, Hogan would have to approve any sale of any parts. If Dentom cant do that, Hogan can demand to take over the site. If he wanted to, he could fire everyone and have the site just display the Gawker logo with "nWo" spray
    • Except for ... you know ... insurance which ... you know Gawker has, right?

      They'll pay next year for insurance premiums, but thats not going to be their death blow.

      • by Khyber ( 864651 )

        Umm, no, insurance companies will NOT pay for punitive damages, only the initial damages.

        The most common reason given for this belief is that punitive or exemplary damages are always uninsurable as a matter of law—public policy does not allow payment of such damages. The prohibition of the insurability of punitive damages based on public policy typically hinges on the answer to one overriding question: whether the purposes of punishment and deterrence are defeated by allowing insurance to pay for such

  • Gawker is more an indictment of American culture. Yes, they do underhanded things and their reporting is abysmal at best, but they earn money because controversy and dirty rumors seem to captivate Americans. If Americans weren't so fascinated with scandal, controversy, and rumor, then Gawker wouldn't exist. Gawker exists because there is a large market for it.
    • by DrXym ( 126579 )
      It's not a US phenomena. You'll find plenty of sleaze in UK websites and magazines and probably every other country where a free press is a thing. It's just that most countries have stronger privacy and libel laws so it takes the edge off the sleaze or at least provides some legal redress where it is discovered. e.g. the phone hacking scandal in the UK had serious repercussions.
  • ... if I happen to see this video by accident?

  • With over $100 million on the line, I doubt that Hogan cares one iota, but I noticed Hogan sex tape trending their morning on a porn site.
    So on the one hand, what Gawker did probably does deserve a punishment, and since this is probably just 1 incident of hundreds or thousands, their is something to the idea of the punishment being significant because most of the time they will get away with it. But anyone suing over a sex tape leak, obviously does not care who and how many see there sex tape.

    • I would care, but frankly $100million would make me feel much better about it. There's a lot of things that I would care less about for that sum of money.

  • "...and nothing of value was lost"
  • by wisnoskij ( 1206448 ) on Saturday March 19, 2016 @04:33PM (#51733269) Homepage

    Setting aside the whole professional damages area, what is fair for personal damages? Does a poor person get less because money is worth more to them? $10,000 is a shit load of money to me, that is the number that popped into my head as fair for breach of privacy and emotional distress. But to someone worth millions, who goes to $10,000 a plate dinners, obviously emotional distress is worth more to them. They might pay millions to avoid the leaking of a sex tape, while someone who makes $20K a year obviously would not. So are the emotions of rich people actually worth more than the emotions of poor people? What would be a fair way to put that into law?

    • Setting aside the whole professional damages area, what is fair for personal damages? Does a poor person get less because money is worth more to them? $10,000 is a shit load of money to me, that is the number that popped into my head as fair for breach of privacy and emotional distress. But to someone worth millions, who goes to $10,000 a plate dinners, obviously emotional distress is worth more to them. They might pay millions to avoid the leaking of a sex tape, while someone who makes $20K a year obviously would not. So are the emotions of rich people actually worth more than the emotions of poor people? What would be a fair way to put that into law?

      If someone loses their reputation and livelihood, it is simple enough to do a discounted cashflow projection of their lost future earnings.

      However, when it's their own fault, I'm not sure why they would get anything. If you know you'll get fired for having a bit of extra-marital sex, you should either change jobs or keep it zipped.

  • by ArylAkamov ( 4036877 ) on Saturday March 19, 2016 @06:34PM (#51733903)

    I won't miss these hypocritical pieces of shit.

    I don't know what is worse: That they refused to take the sex tape of Terry down (Hulk Hogan) but at the same time condemned the leaked pictures of female celebrities during "The Fappening", or that they actually tried to invoke the Holocaust and "FREE SPEECH!" during the trial.

    Kind of ironic since this is the same media company spewing "HATE SPEECH IS NOT FREE SPEECH" line.

    http://nypost.com/2016/03/07/g... [nypost.com]

    Let them burn.

Success is something I will dress for when I get there, and not until.

Working...