Thiel was furious when Gawker revealed to the world that he was gay, when he preferred to stay in the closet and it appears that he bankrolled Hulk Hogan’s case against the magazine.
Gawker Media was ordered to pay about $140 million to Hulk Hogan in contentious invasion-of-privacy lawsuit after it published a sex tape of the former wrestler bonking his former best friend’s wife.
The Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection also means the company will put its assets up for sale.
Ziff Davis has placed a bid for Gawker’s assets starting at $100 million prior to an auction that will be supervised by the bankruptcy court, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Ziff will buy Gawker’s blogs, but not its liabilities. Gawker owns Gizmodo, Lifehacker and Deadspin.
Nick Denton Gawker founder of the online media company, had been considering selling Gawker’s blogs after a judge denied last month its motion to seek a new trial.
In its filing with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York, Gawker listed estimated assets of $50 million to $100 million and liabilities of $100 million to $500 million.
Hogan argued in court that publishing the sex tape was a violation of his privacy, and a Florida jury awarded him $55 million for economic injuries and $65 million for emotional distress.
Gawker also has to pay $25 million in punitive damages. Gawker is appealing the ruling and there is a good bet it will win. The story was true, it was in the public interest and the US has a small thing called the constitution which is supposed to allow a free press. What appears to have happened is Thiel spend a fortune to make sure that free press only applied to reporting poor people it is possible for the rich to bankrupt newspapers who publish stories they don’t like.
Thiel told the New York Times, Gawker was “getting attention by bullying people even when there was no connection with the public interest.”
Samantha Barbas, a law professor at the University at Buffalo Law School said that the bankruptcy drives home the central message of the Gawker case, basically the media cannot print what it likes.
“The public’s overwhelming support for Hulk Hogan in this case, and its apparent distaste for Gawker, are signs that the public — and perhaps the courts — are no longer willing to take an ‘anything goes’ approach to newsworthiness.”
Or just that the rich can make sure that those magazines who do not tow the line and dare to miff the rich and famous better have deep pockets.