Tech billionaire Thiel backs wrestler Hogan's Gawker lawsuit - Forbes

Wed May 25, 2016 11:03am EDT
 
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SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Billionaire investor Peter Thiel is helping wrestler Hulk Hogan bankroll his lawsuit against Gawker Media, according to a report in Forbes.

Hogan, whose real name is Terry Bollea, in March won a $140 million jury verdict against Gawker in a privacy lawsuit stemming from a sex tape Gawker had published.

Gawker, a New York-based website specializing in media and celebrity news, is appealing the verdict.

Forbes reported late Tuesday that Thiel, an early backer of Facebook (FB.O: Quote) and a co-founder of PayPal (PYPL.O: Quote), had played a lead role in financing the litigation. A spokesman for Thiel said Wednesday he would be in touch if Thiel decides to issue a statement on the matter.

In a statement Wednesday, Gawker acknowledged but did not confirm reports of Thiel's involvement, and said it hoped the appeals court would decide in its favor.

Thiel, who is also a founder of a hedge fund and a venture capital firm and has been an outspoken voice on issues including education, is no stranger to Gawker. In 2007, it published an article entitled “Peter Thiel is totally gay, people.”

Thiel kept mum publicly about his sexuality at the time, but has since said he is gay.

A longtime supporter of libertarian causes, Thiel recently said he was backing real estate financier Donald Trump in his bid for president.

“In my experience, the freedom to speak, in the view of most libertarians, is not unlimited,” said Eugene Volokh, a professor of law at the University of California at Los Angeles, in an email.   Continued...

 
Terry Bollea, aka Hulk Hogan, sits in court during his trial against Gawker Media, in St Petersburg, Florida March 17, 2016.  REUTERS/Dirk Shadd/Tampa Bay Times/Pool via Reuters