Hulk Hogan awarded $115m in damages in a sex tape lawsuit

The jury handed Hogan $60m for emotional distress and $55m for economic damages

BY Newstalk 07:36 Saturday 19 March 2016, 7:36 19 Mar 2016

Image: Evan Agostini / AP/Press Association Images

Celebrity wrestler Hulk Hogan has been awarded $115m in damages in a sex tape lawsuit against Gawker media.

A Florida jury found that the Gawker website had violated his privacy by publishing a video of him having sex with his former best friend's wife in 2012.

After deliberating for six hours, the jury handed Hogan $60m for emotional distress and $55m for economic damages.

He could be in line for an additional payout when the jury reconvenes on Monday to consider punitive damages and other matters.

"This is a victory for everyone who has had their privacy violated," Hogan's attorney, David Houston, told reporters.

Gawker publisher Nick Denton said the website, which is known for celebrity gossip, will appeal the verdict.

The two-week case pitted arguments over a celebrity's right to privacy in the internet age against the freedom of the press, which is protected in the US Constitution.

Hogan's lawyers noted that he was unaware the encounter was being filmed when it took place over a decade ago and that the footage wasn't newsworthy.

They said Gawker did not warn Hogan, the woman in the video or her husband, DJ Bubba The Love Sponge Clem, who recorded the footage, that it was being published.

Hogan, real name Terry Bollea, testified that he still suffered from the humiliation of the video going viral.

It was alleged that Gawker's value increased by $15m after the post, although the website contended that it made $11,000 in advertising revenue.

Gawker's lawyers, meanwhile, called into question whether the sex tape was a stunt and pointed out it had already appeared on at least two other websites.

It was never conclusively determined who leaked the video to the media.

Hogan, who had sought $100m in damages, wept as the damages were awarded.


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