Hulk Hogan's Sex Tape Lawsuit against Gawker: Roundup - iMediaEthics

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Photo of Hulk Hogan appearing on TV in the 1980s. (Credit: Jacopo Coccia via Flickr)

Hulk Hogan’s sex tape lawsuit against Gawker has been postponed until October.

Gawker published an edited version of Hogan’s 2006 sex tape in October 2012. The video has been taken down with a note on the story saying it was “removed pending litigation.” Hogan filed a $100 million invasion of privacy lawsuit against Gawker.

According to Capital New York, “The tape was recorded in 2006 by Bubba the Love Sponge Clem, a shock jock who was friends with Hogan. It depicts Hogan having sex with Bubba’s then-wife Heather, with Bubba’s encouragement.”

Gawker founder Nick Denton stands by the video and post as newsworthy, the Huffington Post reported. “This is a story we’re happy to defend because, despite two-and-a-half years of digging and examination, nobody has yet pointed out any holes in the story,” Denton told the Huffington Post. “There are no vulnerabilities in this story at all.”

He added that by providing clips from the video, Gawker was able to confirm the story for readers.

“Others used screenshots, and in that muck and confusion, lies and rumors and speculation proliferated,” Denton said. “We wrote a story which did not simply add another rumor to an already large pile of rumors, but actually sorted through those rumors and tried to establish some truth. That is the definition of good journalism, whatever you think about the subject matter.”

Denton also said in an interview with CNN that “no one has contested the facts” of what Gawker published.

The Huffington Post reported:

“Denton and Gawker’s defense team want jurors to conclude that publishing an edited clip of the 30-minute sex tape falls in line with what journalists do every day: provide verifiable information in response to rumors and reveal contradictions related to a celebrity’s public claims. The wrestler’s sex life was a newsworthy subject, they argue, because Hogan spoke graphically in interviews and books about his prowess and because the existence of the sex tape was covered in the media, complete with grainy screen shotsonline.”

On the other hand, Hogan’s lawyer Charles Harder claims Hogan didn’t know about the sex tape, his privacy was invaded, Gawker didn’t need to show the video, which was “private,” and it didn’t qualify as protected under the First Amendment. “The First Amendment does not allow a website to post secretly-filmed footage of nudity and sex, without the subject’s consent,” Harder told Huffington Post.

At the trial, whenever it is, the media won’t be able to see the sex tape, according to Poynter.

“The courtroom will not be closed while the evidence is shown, [Circuit Judge Pamela] Campbell ruled. Instead, monitors showing the tape will be pointed away from the gallery where the press sits, restricting the tape’s viewability.”

And the media wanted to see the tape:

“Gawker Media was joined by several news organizations, including First Look Media, BuzzFeed, CNN, The Associated Press and Vox Media, which filed a motion Tuesday in favor of allowing the press to see the video. They were represented in court by attorney Timothy Conner, who argued that the tape should be public in part because of its centrality to the case. The Tampa Bay Times, which is owned by Poynter, also argued in favor of allowing the press to see the tape.”


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Hulk Hogan’s Sex Tape Lawsuit against Gawker: Roundup

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