As freedom of speech is an increasingly hot topic in the dawning of the Trump administration, director Brian Knappenberger was on hand at the Sundance Film Festival to discuss his new documentary “Nobody Speak: Hulk Hogan, Gawker and Trials of a Free Press,” which was bought there by Netflix.
For those completely out of the loop during 2015-16, Hogan sued Gawker for defamation, loss of privacy and emotional pain for posting a clip of a sex tape the former wrestler had made in 2012. Hogan won the suit and Gawker quickly filed for bankruptcy.
“The actual verdict of the trial was $140 million, which was staggering and really was like an axe coming down on Gawker’s head,” Knappenberger told TheWrap.
Knappenberger revealed that what caught his interest was finding out who was on Hogan’s side during the trial.
“It was revealed that Silicon Valley venture capitalist Peter Thiel, the first outside investor of Facebook, was actually funding Hulk Hogan’s lawsuit as a part of a nine-year grudge against Gawker that presumably started when they outed him on their pages in 2007,” he said. “When that happened, I was completely in.”
The project is actually more relevant now than ever, with Thiel jumping on the Donald Trump bandwagon and helping the fellow billionaire as part of his transition team into the White House.
“My film actually became about thin-skinned, highly-litigious billionaires,” Knappenberger added.
Watch the full interview above.