In finally addressing the Terry Bollea (aka Hulk Hogan) v Gawker verdict that awarded Bollea $140 million in damages, Gawker founder Nick Denton offered up a twist: Bollea didn’t sue Gawker about the sex tape, he sued about a racist rant.
“As our lawyers argued in legal briefs that were kept secret by the trial judge from the public—and even from me—until an appeals court unsealed them on Friday, Hogan filed the claim because he was terrified that one of the other tapes, which memorialized his rant about his daughter dating ‘f*cking n******,’ might emerge,” wrote Denton.
Denton then went on to argue what everyone in media understands — punishing a news site for publishing unflattering information about a public figure is a terrible precedent.
“There is a reason why judges typically hew to the First Amendment and protect free speech from the censorious impulses of juries. It is specifically designed to protect minority opinion from majority outrage. Freedom of expression will always be more popular in principle than in practice. We want to be free to express ourselves, but are less enthusiastic when that freedom is exercised by others with whom we disagree.”