In a bout that read like a headline straight from the WWE, Hulk Hogan has veritably leg dropped the media conglomerate, Gawker, in a $115 million lawsuit over the posting of a hidden camera sex tape of the former wrestler posted on the media companies many websites. The sex tape was made about 10 years ago, during a period in which Hogan (Terry Bollea) testified that he was going through a difficult phase with his then-wife. Todd Clem, the Florida radio personality better known as Bubba the Love Sponge, encouraged Hogan to sleep with his wife Heather. However, in 2012, Hogan wound up suing Clem, stating that he didn’t know he was secretly being filmed and did not consent to Gawker receiving the tape.
Gawker was then issued with a court order to take down the video, they immediately refused, posted a blog style response refusing to obey the order, and left the video up. This prompted the lawsuit from Hogan that has now ended in a $115 million verdict that may very well end up bankrupting Gawker. The trial itself has been a wild ride, giving a deeper look into Gawker’s cultural ecosystem and displaying some truly confusing motives during cross-examination. At one point during the trial, former Gawker editor-in-chief A.J. Daulerio was questioned about the newsworthiness of celebrity sex tapes, sarcastically responded that a sex tape involving a 4-year old would be the age limit. Overall the jury felt more than compelled to award Hogan the verdict off $115 million in damages plus punitive charges, ultimately stating that the posting of the sex tape was not only not newsworthy, it was also done with malicious intent and had clearly harmed Hogan’s well being. The case was essentially considered a slam dunk for the former wrestler and may serve as the killing stroke to a media company that is well reviled across the internet.