PayPal Founder Peter Thiel Funded Hulk Hogan vs. Gawker lawsuit

Zenithal

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It's not illegal, but you can't help but feel that there's a slippery slope hiding somewhere in the midst of all of this.

Like you, I don't like Gawker. Think they're a bunch of scumbags. But there are so many ifs, ands, and buts to this case, I find it hard to take any one side. I'm not sorry to see they've been sued, even less sorry to see they've lost. What they did was pretty reprehensible on all levels.

But scummy bastards though they are, they are the media. The idea that billionaires can use their resources to silence voices they dislike doesn't sit particularly comfortably with me. With Thiel involved behind the scenes, it feels like a SLAPP suit by proxy.
Well any large case such as this will set precedence for future cases.

I wouldn't outright say I don't like Gawker. I simply don't like gossip sites masquerading as media sites. Calling Gawker a media site that delivers news, IMO, is the equivalent of stating Globe magazine is a legitimate news source.

Today's media has zero class. Gawker truly knows they did something bad to Thiel then and Hogan now, and they know they're going to pay for their mistake. However, companies and even simple individuals now can go to great lengths to silence others. You may not need as much money as in the aforementioned case, but it isn't impossible.
 

vrDrew

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Today's media has zero class. Gawker truly knows they did something bad to Thiel then and Hogan now, and they know they're going to pay for their mistake. However, companies and even simple individuals now can go to great lengths to silence others. You may not need as much money as in the aforementioned case, but it isn't impossible.
So you, and apparently a lot of other commenters in this thread, feel that because you don't like Gawker (and other sources that don't meet your standards for "newsiness") then they deserve to be destroyed?

Thats not a moral, intellectual, or legal standard thats very healthy for a functioning society. One that has a tradition of free speech, and a free and vigorous press.

There are probably thousands of magazines, websites, TV shows, youTube channels, newspapers, tabloids, and radio hosts that I don't like. That I don't believe provide their audience with particularly useful, accurate, or socially uplifting information.

But that doesn't mean that they should be destroyed, or silenced. Simply because an individual with nearly infinite financial resources can persuade a Florida Jury to award punitive damages to a celebrity about whom they had written a true - if embarrassing - story.

Peter Thiel's involvement in this case is especially troubling. For more on this, read the excellent - and eerily prescient - Baffler article (best title ever): Mouthbreathing Machiavellis Dream of A Silicon Reich

For instance, Thiel echoed Moldbug in an infamous 2009 essay for the Cato Institute in which he explained that he had moved beyond libertarianism. “I no longer believe that freedom and democracy are compatible,” Thiel wrote.
Emphasis mine.

Gawker isn't the bad guy in this story. And the sooner the chumps and lickspittles realize this, the better.
 

jnpy!$4g3cwk

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Peter Thiel's involvement in this case is especially troubling. For more on this, read the excellent - and eerily prescient - Baffler article (best title ever): Mouthbreathing Machiavellis Dream of A Silicon Reich
If you weren't troubled enough already, read this article on Vox about Thiel's support for Donald Trump:

Many people supporting Trump's presidential campaign are essentially supporting him despite the considerable concerns that exist about his willingness to comply with the rules and norms of American democracy. Thiel's view is that democracy is bad, and Trump's contempt for it is likely a feature rather than a bug. If you want to get alarmed about something this week, make it that.
http://www.vox.com/2016/5/27/11798470/peter-thiel-donald-trump-gawker
 
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smallcoffee

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Emphasis mine.
I don't really have a problem with that quote "freedom and democracy aren't compatible" because it is just a matter of opinion. Most libertarians(left or right) or anarchists would find the statement to be at least somewhat compelling because at the end of the day, a democratic government does take away some freedom in some form from someone. I'm not defending Peter Thiel here, but I don't think his comment is some sort of ominous diabolic plan. People need to stop tossing around that quote and acting like they found a "gotcha" because it's not that at all.

Gawker isn't the bad guy in this story. And the sooner the chumps and lickspittles realize this, the better.
My initial reaction was very similar to most people's: GOOD, let Gawker burn. But I've since shifted to the opinion that both are in the wrong here. It doesn't seem right that Peter Thiel is able to do what he's doing, but at the same time, hey Gawker, people's sexual orientation or whatever isn't any of your business. They're not conducting journalism, they're creating, and spreading gossip. The bottom line though is that they were successfully sued in the court. Peter Thiel's money kept the trial going, but at the end of the day they were still found guilty of wrong doing.
 

SHNXX

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Peter Thiel is a very interesting and a very intelligent man.

What he is doing with Gawker is perfectly fine by me.
Valley wag expose on his (homo)sexual preference was truly despicable.
 

smallcoffee

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Peter Thiel is a very interesting and a very intelligent man.

What he is doing with Gawker is perfectly fine by me.
Valley wag expose on his (homo)sexual preference was truly despicable.
Yeah. It's like a case of Westboro Baptist Church. Nobody likes WBC, but they're free to say whatever they want.

The difference is that Gawker has finally done something that somebody could sue them for.
 

jnpy!$4g3cwk

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Peter Thiel is a very interesting and a very intelligent man.

What he is doing with Gawker is perfectly fine by me.
Valley wag expose on his (homo)sexual preference was truly despicable.
Porn and gossip came along for the ride, but, real free speech is political speech, and, that is exactly what is under threat by Thiel, Trump, and all the others.
 
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SHNXX

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Porn and gossip came along for the ride, but, real free speech is political speech, and, that is exactly what is under threat by Thiel, Trump, and all the others.
That's a reasonable stance and I do think that this is certainly not helpful to free speech.
However, I also think that free speech does not need to protect companies from being sued for defamation and for financial damage.
 

Renzatic

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Gramps, what the hell am I paying you for?
I don't really have a problem with that quote "freedom and democracy aren't compatible" because it is just a matter of opinion. Most libertarians(left or right) or anarchists would find the statement to be at least somewhat compelling because at the end of the day, a democratic government does take away some freedom in some form from someone.
The idea that we do sacrifice some freedoms in order to protect others deemed more important is as old as the hills.. The issue these days is that because we live in such contentious times, everyone, from so called libertarians and inappropriately named anarchists, to established Democrats and Republicans, seem to be trending more towards control than freedom.
[doublepost=1464627675][/doublepost]
That's a reasonable stance and I do think that this is certainly not helpful to free speech.
However, I also think that free speech does not need to protect companies from being sued for defamation and for financial damage.
Like anything, it all depends upon degrees, exceptions, and considerations.

Hulk Hogan suing the hell out of Gawker for violating his privacy is entirely within his rights. It's when Thiel decided to bankroll him from behind the scenes due to a personal vendetta against them that things got weird.

Imagine a situation where Hillary could use her influence and power to sue National Report or Breitbart because they pried a little too heavily into her private life, cost her an election. I don't like either one of these news sites, but I support their right to spew the BS they do, because it's guaranteed to them in the first amendment.

I think it all comes down to one question: do you believe it's more important for the media to report the truth, no matter how embarrassing, or is it more important to be able to hold the media accountable for any damages that come about from reporting on this truth? Consider your answer carefully, because both have far reaching consequences.
 

nbs2

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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.
Why couldn't you say that? There is nothing restricting you or anybody else from yelling to burn synagogues, mosques, temples, churches, hospitals, or baby seals. You might have an issue of your words are inciting imminent violence, but the underlying statement can still be uttered.

So anybody who has has shared their private life loses all rights to privacy? If Jennifer Lawrence does an episode of Cribs, does that make the Fappening ok?

dude, you can sue anyone for any reason, if you don't win then YOU are liable to pay back for the defense spending hence the reason many don't sue the N.E even when the "story" seems far fetched. you worry too much about nothing.
You might be able to ask for attorneys costs, but not always. And it certainly isn't a guarantee in most cases.

Guess you've never heard of SLAPP Lawsuits.
Why do you think this was a SLAPP? Was this intended to shut down public discussion or was it a lawsuit that legitimately asked if there was a tortious violation of The Hulkster's private activities?

You suggest that it was the outside financing that created a SLAPP environment, but if there is no influence on the attorney, who puts his client, Hollywood, first and only in determining strategy, the source of financing is irrelevant.

Client I nterests are one of the first ethical considerations when taking a third party client - usually something that comes up when a company pays for an employee's attorney.

Porn and gossip came along for the ride, but, real free speech is political speech, and, that is exactly what is under threat by Thiel, Trump, and all the others.
How does this threaten political speech?
 

hulugu

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The idea that we do sacrifice some freedoms in order to protect others deemed more important is as old as the hills.. The issue these days is that because we live in such contentious times, everyone, from so called libertarians and inappropriately named anarchists, to established Democrats and Republicans, seem to be trending more towards control than freedom.
[doublepost=1464627675][/doublepost]

Like anything, it all depends upon degrees, exceptions, and considerations.

Hulk Hogan suing the hell out of Gawker for violating his privacy is entirely within his rights. It's when Thiel decided to bankroll him from behind the scenes due to a personal vendetta against them that things got weird.

Imagine a situation where Hillary could use her influence and power to sue National Report or Breitbart because they pried a little too heavily into her private life, cost her an election. I don't like either one of these news sites, but I support their right to spew the BS they do, because it's guaranteed to them in the first amendment.

I think it all comes down to one question: do you believe it's more important for the media to report the truth, no matter how embarrassing, or is it more important to be able to hold the media accountable for any damages that come about from reporting on this truth? Consider your answer carefully, because both have far reaching consequences.
Right. It's important to note that Thiel kept his involvement in the lawsuit a secret, and that we run into a tough problem if billionaires bankroll individual libel suits until they successfully crush an outlet. Remember, by nuking Gawker, Thiel isn't just hitting the reporters who reported on his sexual orientation, but also the reporters who reported that Facebook might have been subverting it's own trending news stories.

Nice post Renz. You almost seem human ....
Yeah, the salivating hyper-monster known as Renzatic—his actual name is unpronounceable—is getting better at pretending to not be a carnivorous plant-squid hybrid. Soon, we're going to get him a human suit.
[doublepost=1464647438][/doublepost]
...

...Why do you think this was a SLAPP? Was this intended to shut down public discussion or was it a lawsuit that legitimately asked if there was a tortious violation of The Hulkster's private activities?
You suggest that it was the outside financing that created a SLAPP environment, but if there is no influence on the attorney, who puts his client, Hollywood, first and only in determining strategy, the source of financing is irrelevant.
Based on Thiel's own arguments, by funding the lawsuit he did so to attack Gawker by teaching the outlet a lesson. And, he warned Nick Denton in 2007 that should Gawker publish an article about Thiel's sexuality, Denton would face "destruction that would rain down on me."

And, it's worth noting that Gawker, through ValleyWag, has also reported that Thiel's Clarium Capital lost 90 percent of its assets and that he supports a number of nutty libertarian ideas—including seasteading, the idea that people should live in international waters to avoid governmental restrictions.

People are arguing that Gawker is nothing but a gossip rag, but that misses an important point that for a time, Valleywag did considerable reporting on Silicon Valley.

The entire point of anti-SLAPP lawsuits is to keep people from filing frivolous lawsuits in order to legally batter someone or a company from printing an article, but Thiel appears to be engaging in a SLAPP lawsuit using a third-party.

And, this creates a chilling effect. Can any outlet feel good about printing an article about one of Silicon Valley's titans knowing that one might spend $10 million just to kill the company?
 
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Renzatic

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Right. It's important to note that Thiel kept his involvement in the lawsuit a secret, and that we run into a tough problem if billionaires bankroll individual libel suits until they successfully crush an outlet. Remember, by nuking Gawker, Thiel isn't just hitting the reporters who reported on his sexual orientation, but also the reporters who reported that Facebook might have been subverting it's own trending news stories.
I think the single biggest problem is that the punitive charges were grossly out of proportion of the crime. Yeah, they should be high, I can agree with that much. If they didn't hurt, you couldn't call them punitive. But to charge $150 million, three times the worth of Gawker as a whole, is a step beyond. If it were $10-15 million, it'd sting enough to make sure they mind their P's and Q's next time they decide to violate someone's privacy for the sake of trashy internet gossip. The verdict as is squelches their voice entirely, and could serve as a chilling effect on the concept free speech in the media as a whole.

This, and the fact that there should be no such thing as a secret benefactor in legal proceedings. Our system of justice is a little too heavily influenced by money as is. The last thing we want to do is create a situation where those who can afford it can buy a victory by proxy in cases that don't concern them directly, but a certain verdict could still serve their interests.

Yeah, the salivating hyper-monster known as Renzatic—his actual name is unpronounceable—is getting better at pretending to not be a carnivorous plant-squid hybrid. Soon, we're going to get him a human suit.
I am Rimtaxistahtixs, I need your hemoglobins to live.
 

vrDrew

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I think the single biggest problem is that the punitive charges were grossly out of proportion of the crime. Yeah, they should be high
I do hate to point this out, but publishing a few seconds of a Hulk Hogan sex tape is not, by any reasonable stretch of the imagination, a crime.

And because the information published was true (ie. it portrayed events which actually took place) - it fails the basic test for defamation, which is the basis of most civil torts.

The reality is that this case will almost certainly be reversed by an Appeals Court. The problem is that due to the size of the judgement, Gawker will be required to post of a bond until the case is resolved. And the size of that bond may very well imperil Gawkers ability to survive.
 

Renzatic

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I do hate to point this out, but publishing a few seconds of a Hulk Hogan sex tape is not, by any reasonable stretch of the imagination, a crime.

And because the information published was true (ie. it portrayed events which actually took place) - it fails the basic test for defamation, which is the basis of most civil torts.

The reality is that this case will almost certainly be reversed by an Appeals Court. The problem is that due to the size of the judgement, Gawker will be required to post of a bond until the case is resolved. And the size of that bond may very well imperil Gawkers ability to survive.
Right. It isn't a crime, but it is one helluva of a civil suit.

It's a situation where the right to publish any truthful material freely comes in conflicts with the right not to have the embarrassing o-face you throw in the privacy of your own home broadcast all over the world. Ignoring the Thiel Complication for a second, it presents to us a situation where everyone is well within their rights to do what they did. Since Gawker only presented facts, they're not violating any ethical standards of journalism, but airing the tape does violate Hogan's reasonable expectation of privacy.

...so what do we do?
 

nbs2

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Right. It's important to note that Thiel kept his involvement in the lawsuit a secret, and that we run into a tough problem if billionaires bankroll individual libel suits until they successfully crush an outlet. Remember, by nuking Gawker, Thiel isn't just hitting the reporters who reported on his sexual orientation, but also the reporters who reported that Facebook might have been subverting it's own trending news stories.



Yeah, the salivating hyper-monster known as Renzatic—his actual name is unpronounceable—is getting better at pretending to not be a carnivorous plant-squid hybrid. Soon, we're going to get him a human suit.
[doublepost=1464647438][/doublepost]

Based on Thiel's own arguments, by funding the lawsuit he did so to attack Gawker by teaching the outlet a lesson. And, he warned Nick Denton in 2007 that should Gawker publish an article about Thiel's sexuality, Denton would face "destruction that would rain down on me."

And, it's worth noting that Gawker, through ValleyWag, has also reported that Thiel's Clarium Capital lost 90 percent of its assets and that he supports a number of nutty libertarian ideas—including seasteading, the idea that people should live in international waters to avoid governmental restrictions.

People are arguing that Gawker is nothing but a gossip rag, but that misses an important point that for a time, Valleywag did considerable reporting on Silicon Valley.

The entire point of anti-SLAPP lawsuits is to keep people from filing frivolous lawsuits in order to legally batter someone or a company from printing an article, but Thiel appears to be engaging in a SLAPP lawsuit using a third-party.

And, this creates a chilling effect. Can any outlet feel good about printing an article about one of Silicon Valley's titans knowing that one might spend $10 million just to kill the company?
Except, this isn't a frivolous lawsuit. The jury clearly felt it had merit. Even if they had found in favor of Gawker, the judge clearly did not find the case unmerited. Thiel may have funded the suit, but it was a suit with merit.

As far as remaining hidden, that's the way it should be, especially during trial. Who is paying for the attorney has no relevance on the proceedings and should not be allowed to detract from the merits of the case.

If you supported Hogan before the revelation, there is no reason to change now - there has been no change in the facts or merits of the case. If you supported Gawker before, again, there is no reason to feel differently.
 
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nbs2

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Right. It's important to note that Thiel kept his involvement in the lawsuit a secret, and that we run into a tough problem if billionaires bankroll individual libel suits until they successfully crush an outlet. Remember, by nuking Gawker, Thiel isn't just hitting the reporters who reported on his sexual orientation, but also the reporters who reported that Facebook might have been subverting it's own trending news stories.



Yeah, the salivating hyper-monster known as Renzatic—his actual name is unpronounceable—is getting better at pretending to not be a carnivorous plant-squid hybrid. Soon, we're going to get him a human suit.
[doublepost=1464647438][/doublepost]

Based on Thiel's own arguments, by funding the lawsuit he did so to attack Gawker by teaching the outlet a lesson. And, he warned Nick Denton in 2007 that should Gawker publish an article about Thiel's sexuality, Denton would face "destruction that would rain down on me."

And, it's worth noting that Gawker, through ValleyWag, has also reported that Thiel's Clarium Capital lost 90 percent of its assets and that he supports a number of nutty libertarian ideas—including seasteading, the idea that people should live in international waters to avoid governmental restrictions.

People are arguing that Gawker is nothing but a gossip rag, but that misses an important point that for a time, Valleywag did considerable reporting on Silicon Valley.

The entire point of anti-SLAPP lawsuits is to keep people from filing frivolous lawsuits in order to legally batter someone or a company from printing an article, but Thiel appears to be engaging in a SLAPP lawsuit using a third-party.

And, this creates a chilling effect. Can any outlet feel good about printing an article about one of Silicon Valley's titans knowing that one might spend $10 million just to kill the company?
Except, this isn't a frivolous lawsuit. The jury clearly felt it had merit. Even if they had found in favor of Gawker, the judge clearly did not find the case unmerited. Thiel may have funded the suit, but it was a suit with merit.

As far as remaining hidden, that's the way it should be, especially during trial. Who is paying for the attorney has no relevance on the proceedings and should not be allowed to detract from the merits of the case.

If you supported Hogan before the revelation, there is no reason to change now - there has been no change in the facts or merits of the case. If you supported Gawker before, again, there is no reason to feel differently.
 

vrDrew

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Since Gawker only presented facts, they're not violating any ethical standards of journalism, but airing the tape does violate Hogan's reasonable expectation of privacy.


If Gawker had hired a team to place cameras inside Hulk Hogan's bedroom that argument might be a bit more compelling.

However, there is considerable evidence to suggest that Hogan was well aware that the encounter was being videotaped. His former friend, Bubba "The Sponge" Clem who did make the tape declined to testify on 5th Amendment grounds during the Gawker trial. But both he and Hogan have said that Hogan was aware of the videocamera.

Then there is the little matter of not only Hogan's celebrity status; but also his having spoken numerous times - pre-Gawker tape post - of his sex life. If a person makes a living out of being a celebrity; and you make large part of that persona you alleged sexual prowess and conquests - you've really kind of lost the whole "reasonable expectation of privacy" argument.
 

Renzatic

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Gramps, what the hell am I paying you for?
Then there is the little matter of not only Hogan's celebrity status; but also his having spoken numerous times - pre-Gawker tape post - of his sex life. If a person makes a living out of being a celebrity; and you make large part of that persona you alleged sexual prowess and conquests - you've really kind of lost the whole "reasonable expectation of privacy" argument.
Here's a good counter to that. Yeah, it's an opinion piece, but it does bring up some good points. The internet has made the question of privacy considerably more complicated, and it might be time to consider a line.

The question is, how do we protect the rights of the media to do what they've always done, while simultaneously protecting a person's right to privacy in their most intimate moments? With that in mind, the last thing we want to do is create a situation where someone can do something outright terrible, then turn around and claim the media violated his rights by exposing his misdeeds to the public.
 
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hulugu

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Except, this isn't a frivolous lawsuit. The jury clearly felt it had merit. Even if they had found in favor of Gawker, the judge clearly did not find the case unmerited. Thiel may have funded the suit, but it was a suit with merit.

As far as remaining hidden, that's the way it should be, especially during trial. Who is paying for the attorney has no relevance on the proceedings and should not be allowed to detract from the merits of the case.

If you supported Hogan before the revelation, there is no reason to change now - there has been no change in the facts or merits of the case. If you supported Gawker before, again, there is no reason to feel differently.
Well, keep in mind that a federal judge and Florida's state court disagreed in 2012 and 2014.

The jury can be instructed not to pay attention to the funding on the case, but Thiel was clearly trying to hide his involvement.

I don't support Hogan's case. The video was true and the central argument from Hogan was that he didn't know that he was being filmed and thus, the release of the video was an invasion of privacy. Hogan initially sued Bubba Clem over the release, but managed to get Clem to agree to help him sue Gawker—something the jury was not informed of.

As for the jury, they clearly decided to punish Gawker for releasing the videotape and causing Hogan (really Terry Bollea) and ignored the First Amendment arguments that Gawker was publishing a true fact. Had a Gawker employee made the video surreptitiously, or had Gawker stolen the DVD, that would be different.

The jury is wrong. The case should be appealed. And, Thiel should stop bankrolling lawsuits for media companies he doesn't like.
 
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nbs2

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Well, keep in mind that a federal judge and Florida's state court disagreed in 2012 and 2014.

The jury can be instructed not to pay attention to the funding on the case, but Thiel was clearly trying to hide his involvement.

I don't support Hogan's case. The video was true and the central argument from Hogan was that he didn't know that he was being filmed and thus, the release of the video was an invasion of privacy. Hogan initially sued Bubba Clem over the release, but managed to get Clem to agree to help him sue Gawker—something the jury was not informed of.

As for the jury, they clearly decided to punish Gawker for releasing the videotape and causing Hogan (really Terry Bollea) and ignored the First Amendment arguments that Gawker was publishing a true fact. Had a Gawker employee made the video surreptitiously, or had Gawker stolen the DVD, that would be different.

The jury is wrong. The case should be appealed. And, Thiel should stop bankrolling lawsuits for media companies he doesn't like.
Forum shopping happens all the time. It's a reality of how courts are constructed. It doesn't matter if a thousand judges disagree, as long as one thinks the suit has merit, and it's in his courtroom.

That you don't support Hogan's case is fine. That is your right and prerogative. However it doesn't change the fact the the jury's findings. But, it can and may and possibly should be appealed.

As far as Thiel bankrolling lawsuits against those he doesn't like, why should he? If there is a case that he feels has merit, why shouldn't he provide the funds to allow the case to proceed. It's no different than if he contributed to somebody's GoFundMe campaign or whatever - Hulkamania needed money to bring a suit and they found someone who believed in their case enough to pay all of the associated costs. If we are going to stop TP payments, arguing that they can only be stopped when "the contributor doesn't like the other party" is a slippery slope in determining who meets that definition.
 

thermodynamic

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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.

Where in the first amendment is that indicated?

Otherwise would our society be so littered with misadvertising, misinformation, manipulation, from news sources and other for-profit entities and not be held culpable? If what you say were truly true? (Obviously the answer is "no")

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances
Now what is the definition of freedom?

the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint.
(emphasis added)

So that bit about repercussions, who added it, where, and when? Are they related to, if not the same people who removed the following from another amendment for the sole purpose to misinform and cultivate false beliefs?

"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State,"
 

nbs2

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Where in the first amendment is that indicated?

Otherwise would our society be so littered with misadvertising, misinformation, manipulation, from news sources and other for-profit entities and not be held culpable? If what you say were truly true? (Obviously the answer is "no")



Now what is the definition of freedom?


(emphasis added)

So that bit about repercussions, who added it, where, and when? Are they related to, if not the same people who removed the following from another amendment for the sole purpose to misinform and cultivate false beliefs?
Did we just take a left turn on the way to Albuquerque?

Are you suggesting, in the same post, that:

a) there can be no repercussion for speech because "freedom" inherently means that there can be no associated cost or impingement; and

b) that shall not be infringed can result in impingement based on how you read the preamble?

I'm impressed.

The government cannot deny speech or the ability of the press to operate, but that doesn't mean there there cannot be an associated cost. What you argue is government sanctioned misinformation is not government sanctioned. It is simply left to those who have been wronged or harmed to seek correction. In other words, while there may not be a criminal violation, there are civil claims to be found.

And still in cases of outright fraud or improper manipulation of the free market, and when politically expedient (a problem that does need remedy), the government will intervene and invoke criminal charges. This applies both in cases of lying to the public as well as lying to the government.