Jury awards Hulk Hogan $115M in Gawker lawsuit
ST. PETERSBURG, FL (WFLA) – A jury has sided with ex-pro wrestler Hulk Hogan and awarded him $115 million in his sex tape lawsuit against Gawker Media.
The jurors reached the decision Friday evening, less than six hours after they began deliberations. The trial lasted two weeks.
Terry Bollea sued the website Gawker for publishing a video that shows him having sex with the ex-wife of radio personality Bubba the Love Sponge Clem.
Bollea attorney Kenneth Turkel told the jury the lawsuit would have never happened if Gawker had just taken down the video after they were sent a letter asking them to take it down.
“In its core this case has never, ever, ever been about anything more that Gawker took a secretly recorded sex tape of my client in a private bedroom performing a private act and put it on the internet,” said Turkel.
Gawker attorney Michael Sullivan asked the jury not to question why they were never shown the sex video during the course of the trial.
“Because that video does not show all that much. The video that Gawker posted is not like a real celebrity sex tape. It’s not like Kim Kardashian. It’s not in color,” said Sullivan.
Late Friday afternoon, hundreds of pages of documents were released pertaining to the case. The documents had been previously sealed by the trial judge Pamela Campbell. An appellate court ordered the documents be made public.
The documents reveal there are three video recordings showing Bollea having sex with Heather Clem. On at least one of the recordings, Bollea can be heard making racially offensive comments. The FBI began investigating the recordings when an attorney in California contacted Bollea to try to broker a deal to sell him the recordings.
Bollea called the FBI and claimed he was being extorted. The documents reveal Bollea may have been more concerned about the racial comments becoming public then he was the actual video depicting him having sex. Bollea was eventually fired by the WWE when news of the racially offensive comments leaked out. The documents also reveal Bollea lied while under oath about the existence of the other video recordings during depositions for the Gawker lawsuit.