Let’s get ready to rumble! In this corner, weighing in at 11.7 million unique monthly global readers and an annual revenue of roughly $45 million, Nick Denton and Gawker Media. And in this corner, weighing in at 322lbs, the Hulkamaniac himself, Hulk Hogan…and billionaire gay libertarian Peter Thiel!
Hulk Hogan’s lawsuit against Gawker continues to make headlines, most recently for some of the behind-the-scenes machinations. Forbes magazine recently reported that Paypal cofounder Thiel secretly paid all of Hogan’s legal expenses in the former pro-wrestler’s suit again the online media company.
Hogan was awarded $140 million back in March in his suit against Gawker after the site posted video of him having sex with a friend’s wife. But it seem likely that this case is personal for Thiel as well:
“Money may not have been the main motivation in the first place. Thiel, who is gay, has made no secret of his distaste for Gawker, which attempted to out him in late 2007 before he was open about his sexuality. In 2009, Thiel told PEHub that now-defunct Silicon Valley-focused publication Valleywag, which was owned by Gawker, had the ‘psychology of a terrorist.’
‘Valleywag is the Silicon Valley equivalent of Al Qaeda,’ Thiel said at the time.”
Denton had previously speculated to the New York Times that someone in Silicon Valley was bankrolling Hogan’s suit, and this would seem to confirm his hunch.
Gawker has a history of outing people, not to mention what many would consider invasion of privacy. Last summer, the site was universally criticized by both the gay and mainstream press for a post outing a married Condé Nast exec. Denton eventually removed the post, saying he regretted running it.
Moral of the story: don’t cross a queen with deep pockets!
h/t: New York Times