For those who came in late wrestler Hulk Hogan sued after Gawker published a sex tape of Hogan. He won $140 million from the case.
But it turns out that Peter Thiel, an early backer of Facebook and a co-founder of PayPal, acknowledged that he had played a lead role in financing Hogan’s litigation. This might have something to do with the fact that in 2007 Gawker posted a 2007 article about Thiel entitled, “Peter Thiel is totally gay, people”. At the time Thiel had not come out.
According to Reuters, billionaire media owner Pierre Omidyar has told the world that he is backing Gawker Media. Omidyar, owner of The Intercept publisher First Look Media, is asking other media outlets to file legal briefs in support of Gawker. First Look said its goal was to protect constitutional rights.
Lynn Oberlander, general counsel at First Look, in a statement: “The possibility that Gawker may have to post a bond for $50 million or more just to be able to pursue its right to appeal the jury’s verdict raises serious concerns about press freedom.”
Omidyar, who made a fortune co-founding online auction site eBay said he would support Gawker in its legal fight financially as well as via the court briefs, a person familiar with the situation said. He is not interested in buying a stake in Gawker itself and it appears to be just support.
Other Silicon Valley billionaires have backed Thiel once news broke of his support of Hogan prominent venture capitalist, Vinod Khosla tweeted that “Click bait journalists need to be taught lessons. Far less ethics and more click chasing in press today. I’m for #theil,”
Khosla is currently fighting a legal battle over whether the public may access the beach on property he owns in San Mateo County, California.