Does Hulk Hogan‘s victory in his lawsuit against Gawker over a sex tape posted on the website in 2012 mean the end of Nick Denton’s media company?
On Friday, a Florida jury found that Hogan suffered severe emotional distress over the publication of segments of a sex tape featuring him, and that his privacy was invaded by the publication of the footage. The former pro wrestler was awarded $115 million, a number that could grow once the jury decides on punitive damages Monday.
According to a profile of Gawker founder and CEO Nick Denton in the New York Times last June, the company generated $45 million in advertising revenue and earned just $7 million in 2014. Company insiders told the Times that an unfavorable outcome in the trial could end Gawker Media.
“We don’t keep $100 million in the bank, no,” said Denton himself at the time.
However, in a more recent interview with Buzzfeed News, Denton said he was “generally rather relaxed and confident about [their] financial position” after having raised outside investment funds.
Denton has also made it clear that he intends to appeal the decision, and is confident that evidence withheld from this jury — testimony from Hogan’s friend, radio shock jock Todd “Bubba the Love Sponge” Clem, that Hogan knew he was being recorded — would be enough to reach a different verdict.
“Given key evidence and the most important witness were both improperly withheld from this jury, we all knew the appeals court will need to resolve the case,” Denton said in a statement following the decision. “We feel very positive about the appeal that we have already begun preparing, as we expect to win this case ultimately.”