After losing to Hulk Hogan in a privacy lawsuit that awarded $140 million in damages to the former star wrestler, Gawker Media founder Nick Denton has broken his silence.
In a lengthy blog post on the site he founded, Denton called the two-week trial in a Florida courtroom “a sham from the start,” and vowed the online site famous for publishing gossip and rumors would prove triumphant in an appeals court.
“We have had our day in trial court, and we lost. We will have our day back in appeals court, and we will be vindicated,” he writes. Denton also found time to disparage Hogan, “whose whole life is a performance.”
Last week, a jury ruled in favor of Hulk Hogan – whose real name is Terry Bollea – in a lawsuit against Gawker, Denton and former editor A.J. Daulerio over the publishing of a 90-second clip showing the wrestler having sex with his best friend’s wife.
In his post, Denton detailed aspects of the case that led to a ruling against Gawker. He said the suit by Hogan was not solely about the tape, but about another video that purportedly shows Hogan uttering racial slurs. That video led to Hogan’s firing from the W.W.E., and legal briefs containing these arguments were not shown to the jury, Denton said.
He also talked about the company’s First Amendment right to publish newsworthy content, and that it should triumph – and has triumphed in previous court cases – in an appeals court, where any rights to privacy should fall short of the freedom of speech defense.
“The enormous size of the verdict is chilling to Gawker Media and other publishers with a tabloid streak, but it is also a flag to higher courts that this case went wildly off the rails,” said Denton.