Silicon Valley Debates Thiel’s money man position in Gawker suit

The virtual media international become abuzz last week whilst information surfaced that billionaire Peter Thiel, one among PayPal’s cofounders, had supplied monetary backing for a defamation lawsuit towards Gawker Media.


The healthy stemmed from Gawker’s book of a sex tape involving ex-WWE celeb Terry Bollea, better referred to as “Hulk Hogan.” A Florida jury awarded Bollea US$140 million in March.

Thiel, a facebook board member and longtime monetary supporter of the Committee to guard reporters, showed that he subsidized the Hogan case in component due to his worries about Gawker Media’s journalism processes.

Gawker’s former web site, Valleywag, outed Thiel as homosexual in a 2007 series of articles that also affected the lives of lots of Thiel’s pals. even though Thiel became a rich public determine, the booklet drew massive complaint from media analysts.

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Thiel’s economic guide within the Hogan case was motivated with the aid of a preference to deter the e-book from inflicting comparable harm to those with fewer resources to reply, he instructed The big apple instances.

The guide changed into bullying human beings to get attention in the absence of any public hobby, he stated.

Thiel supplied approximately $10 million to help finance the Hogan legal case, in keeping with the instances.

Hogan rose to fame as the WWF heavyweight Champion within the 1980s and then starred in numerous films, which include the Rocky collection. even though he amassed thousands and thousands of greenbacks through his wrestling and entertainment endeavors, his wealth does now not method that of Thiel, who is stated to be well worth approximately $2.7 billion.

Silent associate

closing week’s hubbub followed reviews that Gawker founder Nick Denton become looking to promote after a court docket closing week denied the organisation’s motion to retry the Hogan case and the award amount become allowed to face.

“we’ve usually stated we assume to prevail on appeal and we’ve got usually stated we’re exploring contingency plans of diverse types so it truly is no longer new,” Gawker Media said in a announcement provided to the E-trade instances by means of spokesperson Lexi Georgiadis.

Gawker earlier this year announced a deal to promote a minority stake to Columbus Nova technology companions as a way to fund boom tasks and pay for the Hogan protection.

“every person take a breath. we’ve had bankers engaged for pretty a while given the want for contingency making plans around facebook board member Peter Thiel’s revenge campaign — and that’s how the Columbus Nova funding became arranged,” Gawker Media added. “We recently engaged [Houlihan Lokey Managing Director] Mark Patricof to endorse us and that appears to have stirred up some excitement, when the reality is that not anything is new.”

ethical Questions

it’s not uncommon for the brilliant rich to head after media agencies, but Thiel’s mystery guide in the Hogan case provides a new wrinkle, said Rick Edmonds, media business analyst at the Poynter Institute.

“it’s relatively commonplace for the rich to sue information media just to try to get even, whether or not they’ve a case,” he informed TechNewsWorld. “that is a one-of-a-kind twist, locating a person else with a better case and looking to damage the opening that way. That may be dubious ethically, however i am quite certain it is not illegal nor does it enhance a primary amendment issue.”

it is not likely that fb might be broken by using this, however there may be a moderate hazard that it is able to face pressure to part with Thiel, “because he’s too warm and divisive” on media-associated issues, Edmonds stated.

Thiel and the Thiel basis furnished huge economic assist to the Committee to defend journalists between July 2008 and January 2013, stated government Director Joel Simon.

“As a free expression agency, we’ve a extensive form of supporters with a extensive kind of views,” he discovered.

As for Thiel backing the Hogan case, “we help the proper of individuals inside the usa and round the arena to are trying to find civil redress in cases of defamation,” Simon introduced. “but we do no longer support efforts to abuse the process by using in search of to punish or [bankrupt] unique media stores.”

“The net right to submit awful matters does have limits,” stated Peter S. Vogel, a accomplice at Gardere.

“What Peter Thiel did to fund the Hulk Hogan case isn’t so uncommon,” he advised TechNewsWorld, noting that 0.33 events such as the digital Frontier foundation, the digital privacy data center and the yank Civil Liberties Union regularly “pursue litigation to help parents.”