After Gawker Media lost the gigantic lawsuit brought against it by Hulk Hogan after publishing his sex tape, the media group founder, Nick Denton, believes that there’s more to the lawsuit than meets the eye.
While Hogan accused Gawker of invading his privacy, Denton believes that the former pro wrestler wants to prevent the release of additional videos that show him using racial slurs. In a post published on Gawker on Tuesday, Denton wrote:
As our lawyers argued in legal briefs that were kept secret by the trial judge from the public—and even from me—until an appeals court unsealed them on Friday, Hogan filed the claim because he was terrified that one of the other tapes, which memorialised his rant about his daughter dating “f—–g n—–s,” might emerge.
In fact, according to Denton, there are text messages out there that describe Hogan’s motivation in bringing the suit:
As I have come to learn, Hogan himself put it in a text message to his best friend, the radio shock-jock Bubba Clem, days after we published our story: “We know there’s more than one tape out there and a one that has several racist slurs were told.”
Apparently, the part of Gawker’s argument containing information about the additional tapes was not available to the jury that awarded $25 million in punitive damages in addition to the $115 million awarded last week. Denton continues:
I had suspicions, but it is now clear that Hogan’s lawsuit was a calculated attempt to prevent Gawker, or anyone else who might obtain evidence of his racism, from publishing a truth more interesting and more damaging than a revelation about his sex life.
The existence of these additional sex tapes has been a part of the background of Gawker’s fight with Hogan and Gawker sued the FBI for evidence last year in relation to an investigation into them.
Then, later last year, two other media publications revealed quotes that matched Denton’s description. Apparently they were transcribed from a separate and different sex tape depicting Hogan and Sponge Clem – the same woman who we heard from last week.
While the Florida jury decided upon a $140 million charge in damages, Gawker is set up for a fight in the appeals court to have the decision overturned. In the meantime, they might have to pay a $50 million bond. Denton is expecting to win:
We feel very positive about the appeal that we have already begun preparing, as we expect to win this case ultimately.
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