PayPal Founder Peter Thiel Funded Hulk Hogan vs. Gawker lawsuit

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by vrDrew, May 27, 2016.

  1. vrDrew macrumors 65816

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    #1
    The lawsuit filed by former pro wrestler Hulk Hogan versus Gawker over the release of a portion of a leaked sex tape raised some legitimate concerns. When is it acceptable and/or newsworthy to publish information like this? Does a celebrity have different rights and expectations to privacy than other people?

    I was a little shocked when a Florida jury awarded Hogan $140 million in damages. Florida juries are notorious for making awards like this, and chances are that the case will be either overturned, or that the damages will be significantly reduced.

    Even more disturbing, however, has been the revelation that the lawsuit was secretly funded by Paypay founder Peter Thiel as retribution against Gawker for publishing a report that identified him as gay.

    I'm a strong believer in not just the First Amendment, but also in the necessity for a strong and independent press. One unafraid to go after rich and powerful interests with little fear of retribution. I notice also that Donald Trump - a notoriously litigious individual - keeps threatening to sue newspapers and news shows that publish unflattering stories about him.

    This a is a dangerous precedent. One with no clear answers. But I certainly hope that we are not slipping into a society where the rich and powerful can effectively squelch any unflattering (but true) information with an army of well-paid lawyers.
     
  2. rdowns macrumors Penryn

    rdowns

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    #2
    Gawker are a bunch of dicks. That said, I agree, this is a dangerous precedent but the rich and powerful have been squelching news for ages.
     
  3. DUCKofD3ATH Suspended

    DUCKofD3ATH

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    #3
    Yellow journalist muckrakers put out of a job by a billionaire they enraged.

    What's not to love?
     
  4. unlinked macrumors 6502a

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    #4
    I don't really see anything wrong with Gawker being held to account for their actions.
    The shame is that you need a billionaire to do so not that there is a billionaire who did so.
     
  5. jkcerda macrumors 6502

    jkcerda

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    #5
    they SHOULD fear retribution IF they are WRONG.
     
  6. FX120, May 27, 2016
    Last edited: May 27, 2016

    FX120 macrumors 65816

    FX120

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    #6
    Gawker opened themselves up to this. If they hadn't been running around for years claiming that they're only a "gossip site" and then trying to hide behind protections for real journalists when they go to far, then they probably wouldn't be in this position today.

    And I don't feel that anyone has successfully squashed Gawker, yet... After Conde-Nast, they deserved to get their pants sued off them. The current chain of events is just the inevitable conclusion of an organization that from the beginning has been constantly playing with fire.
     
  7. Robisan macrumors 6502

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    #7
    Fixed that for you to see if you still agree.
     
  8. DUCKofD3ATH Suspended

    DUCKofD3ATH

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    No. I don't agree.

    Oh, and the 90s called, they want their meme back.
     
  9. vrDrew thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #9


    The standard for libel in this country is this: You need to publish something that is untrue. That you knew it to be untrue. And that you did it maliciously.

    The law in the Hulk Hogan case is on Gawker's side. (Hogan removed his Federal case, and refiled in Florida - because he calculated, accurately as it turned out, that a Florida jury would see things differently than a judge would.)

    Was the sex tape "true"? Obviously it was. Did Gawker know this? Sure they did. The case fails on the basis of being libelous. So what about Hogan's argument that his privacy was invaded?

    There is considerable precedent arguing that Gawker acted within the law. In a very similar case, brought by Pamela Anderson Lee, also over a leaked sex tape - a Judge ruled that as a "voluntary public figure" the tape was "newsworthy" and acceptable for publication.
     
  10. jkcerda macrumors 6502

    jkcerda

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    #10
    still agree, the side they are on does not matter. if they are wrong they should pay for it.
    --- Post Merged, May 27, 2016 ---
    the judge was wrong with Pamela. being in the public eye does NOT mean EVERYTHING you do should be "public".
    if Obama has a sex tape leak, should it be "newsworthy"? since he is in the public's eye?
     
  11. webbuzz macrumors 65816

    webbuzz

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    #11
    I look forward to the day the internet is free of all Gawker properties.
     
  12. FX120 macrumors 65816

    FX120

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    #12
    While you may be correct about the legality of publishing the Hogan tape (I think he actually ended up securing copyright), I think the bigger problem is Gawkers double standard when it comes to promoting social outrage directed at public figures saying mildly insensitive things, then turning around and doing things like outing gay men and publishing celebrity sex tapes. Then reversing again and shaming people for watching celebrity sex tapes. Then acting like a bunch of spoiled children when the public at large calls them on their ****. Then trying to pretend they're real journalists with integrity and honor.
     
  13. vrDrew, May 27, 2016
    Last edited: May 27, 2016

    vrDrew thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #13
    Just because you don't like a media organization's stories doesn't mean they don't have a right to exist.

    I, personally, detest the way Fox News distorts, lies, and spins the news. IMHO its responsible for much of the current horror show that is the Republican Party.

    But from a "free speech", legal, and societal basis - they have the right to do that. They have the right to put on news stories. They have the right to editorialize.

    I think people are missing the implications here: Today a well-funded celebrity is trying to destroy Gawker because he didn't like being portrayed in an unflattering light. What if a year from now, President Trump decides he doesn't like the way The New York Times reports on his financial dealings. What if President Hillary Clinton decides to use similar arguments to shut down Fox News or Breitbart?

    Trump has, quite literally, proposed doing this:

    Shutting down a news organization that writes "purposely negative" articles about a politician? That goes against everything the concept of free speech and independent investigative journalism is about in this country.

    Last note: Gawker, despite its reputation as a celebrity gossip site, has broken some very significant stories, among them Hillary Clinton's use of private e-mail, and the widespread concussion epidemic in the NFL.
     
  14. FX120 macrumors 65816

    FX120

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    As has been pointed out many times in this forum is: The freedom of speech does not guarantee you freedom from the repercussions.

    As far as I can tell, Peter Thiel is has not stated that they do not have a right to exist, but he is funding lawsuits for people who feel that they have been wronged by the organization. That is the very core purpose of Tort law.

    Would you propose that he be unable to fund anothers' lawsuit? Would you then also prefer that the ACLU not be able to aid in the lawsuit of someone who was terminated for speaking against their employer? Or a unions ability to provide a legal defense for one of it's members?
     
  15. jkcerda macrumors 6502

    jkcerda

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    #15
    nice post FX.
     
  16. vrDrew thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #16
    Freedom of speech is not unlimited. You cannot yell "Go burn all the Synagogues!". And you cannot deliberately and maliciously write untrue stories.

    But Gawker's Hulk Hogan story was true. The events it portrayed actually took place. Hogan's expectations of privacy were flimsy at best - since he has made a career out of showing his private life on television, and talked about the sex tape with on a radio show.
     
  17. jkcerda macrumors 6502

    jkcerda

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    #17
    you would have a point IF Hulk was a PORN STAR, hence the reason you most likely avoided my Obama comparison. the tape was leaked, of course he talked about it.
     
  18. Renzatic Suspended

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    #18
    On one hand, I'm not sorry to see Gawker suffering for their crass disregard of privacy and journalistic standards. They're a bunch of bullies and bottomfeeders, and I would not be sorry to see them go.

    On the other hand, having our billionaires use the courts to silence the media (which Gawker is, like them or not) is arguably worse, since it allows for some far reaching consequences.

    To me, this was one of those cases where no matter who wins, everyone else loses in some shape, form, or fashion.
     
  19. aaronvan Suspended

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  20. rdowns macrumors Penryn

    rdowns

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    #20
    Yep. If this were Breitbart, or Salon (The Breitbart of the Left), many here would be up in arms.
     
  21. tgara macrumors 6502a

    tgara

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    #21
    As usual, the OP is conflating many issues here (free speech and the first amendment, rights of privacy, freedom of the press, to name a few). But as to so-called third party funding of lawsuits, that has been a normal practice since the 1960s. It started with so-called public interest litigation and the private provision of legal aid to indigents. Even today, public interest and civil rights groups routinely look for plaintiffs and engineer “test cases” to develop legal principles. Anyone who donates to the ACLU or a Legal Aid fund is basically underwriting third-party litigation, so the concept is not new at all.

    What is new is the emergence of wealthy individuals like Thiel willing to back legal causes they support, or the emergence of private for-profit litigation funding groups. They are simply doing what the ACLU or Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, for example, have been doing for some time now.
     
  22. FieldingMellish Suspended

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    #22
    Name, say, 3 news items from Fox, that lied, distorted and spun. Back it up with links.
     
  23. Renzatic Suspended

    Renzatic

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    #23
    Have a ball
     
  24. Robisan macrumors 6502

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    Unprincipled, as usual.
     
  25. Gjwilly macrumors 68030

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    #25
    One difference is the P.A.L. knew she was being recorded. She consented to the tape's creation.
    Hogan claimed that his tape was made without his consent or knowledge so unlike P.A.L. he did have a valid expectation of privacy. Gawker couldn't prove otherwise and the jury agreed.
     

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