In a very unfortunate turn of events for Gawker Media, it seems like the online media company ended up losing the infamous trial against ex-wrestler Hulk Hogan. According to BBC News, the company now owes Hogan no less than $115 million after its flagship website, Gawker.com, posted a sex tape of him and Heather Clem back in 2012. Hogan and his lawyers argued that Gawker Media published the video without permission from the parties involved and ruined his imagine in the process. Although the company didn’t deny the accusations, Gawker argued that freedom of the press should be taken into consideration and that Hulk Hogan often “put his private life out there, for public consumption.”
Needless to say, the jury decided that in this case privacy was more important than freedom of the press and now Gawker needs to pay a pretty hefty sum in order to compensate the ex-wrestler. Gawker Media is not ready to throw in the towel just yet, however, as founder Nick Denton is planning to file an appeal based on the fact that “key evidence and the most important witness were both withheld from this jury.” That said, word has it that an appeal would likely cost the company an additional $50 million on top of the $115 million Gawker already has to pay. What’s more, the jury still has to decide on punitive damages by the end of the month.
Given key evidence and the most important witness were both withheld from this jury, we all knew… pic.twitter.com/AltYIYnFUC
— Nick Denton (@nicknotned) March 18, 2016
In light of these recent events, many people are now rightfully concerned about the future of Gawker Media and perhaps more importantly, the future of its many subsidiaries. We don’t really do tabloid news around here so we won’t blame you if you’re not particularly interested that Gawker might be shutting down at some point in the near future. But, Gawker Media owns a number of other websites, including one that is rather close to our hearts, namely, Kotaku. Sure, Kotaku has received its fair share of criticism over the years, but its still one of the most popular gaming websites around and it would be really sad if Gawker was to shut it down or sell it in order to cover the expenses of this costly trial. It’s unclear at this time if Denton is planning something like that, but it’s definitely a strong possibility given the large amount of money his company now owns Hulk Hogan.
One could argue that Hogan’s career hasn’t been relevant to anyone in years, but the truth is that the ex-wrestler did send a cease and desist letter to Denton and it was ignored. At the end of the day, privacy is still important to everyone, even to racist washed-up ex-wrestlers like mister Hogan. After the shutdown of Joystick last year and that of GameTrailers last month it would be a damn shame to see another decade-old gaming website like Kotaku closing its doors and many good gaming journalists losing their jobs.