Timeline: Hulk Hogan v Gawker sex tape trial | Reuters.com
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Timeline: Hulk Hogan v Gawker sex tape trial

Celebrity wrestler Hulk Hogan takes on the Gawker news outlet in a $100 million privacy invasion case that has drawn attention as a digital-age test of a celebrity's privacy rights and freedom of the press under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

  • Gawker Media files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy 

    On June 10, 2016, Gawker files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and plans to put itself up for sale, in a move that will intensify U.S. public debate over the role of big money in media lawsuits. 

    Media company Ziff Davis already has an agreement to buy Gawker for a little less than $100 million, according to people familiar with the matter. However, a bankruptcy auction will ensue, likely at the end of July.

  • Sources tell of sale

    Two sources familiar with the matter say that Gawker Media is exploring a sale following the $140 million Hogan court ruling. This news is reported as a Florida judge rejects Gawker's request for a new trial and a reduction in damages. Watch Breakingviews for more.

  • Peter Thiel gets involved

    Forbes reports that billionaire investor Peter Thiel, an early backer of Facebook and a co-founder of PayPal, is helping Hogan bankroll his lawsuit against Gawker. Read commentary here.

    Thiel is no stranger to Gawker. In 2007, it published an article entitled "Peter Thiel is totally gay, people." 

  • Who got Hulk Hogan fired?

    On May 2, 2016 a new Hulk Hogan lawsuit is filed in Florida, accusing Gawker of leaking Hogan's racist remarks in a conversation from the consensual sexual encounter. 

    After the tirade was published by the National Enquirer last summer, Hogan was fired by WWE and lost endorsements that left his finances and reputation in ruins, the lawsuit said.

  • Hogan's $115 million win

    In March 2016, after deliberating for six hours. the Florida jury awarded Hulk Hogan $115 million with the possibility of more. Of this, $60 million was awarded for emotional distress and $55 million for economic damages. 

    The mustachioed wrestling icon cried and hugged his attorney as the award was read out. 

    "This is a victory for everyone who has had their privacy violated," Hogan's attorney, David Houston, said. Read more.

    Terry Bollea, aka Hulk Hogan, sits in court during his trial against Gawker Media, in St Petersburg, Florida March 17, 2016. REUTERS/Dirk Shadd/Tampa Bay Times/Pool via Reuters  

  • A limit to news value

    Under cross-examination by Hogan's attorney Shane Vogt, ex-Gawker editor A.J. Daulerio acknowledges that there were limits to the video's newsworthiness, including its depictions of Hogan's anatomy. 

    "Mr Bollea's penis had no news value, did it?" Voght asked. "No," Daulerio responded.

    Terry Bollea (2nd L), aka Hulk Hogan, meets with lawyers before his trial against Gawker Media, in St Petersburg, Florida March 17, 2016. REUTERS/Dirk Shadd/Tampa Bay Times/Pool via Reuters  

  • Press freedoms, public interest

    Gawker stresses that Hogan made his sex life a public matter through his many statements on it, and argues that its post was protected under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

    Hulk Hogan (R) takes his shirt off as his then-wife Linda (2nd R), daughter Brooke and son Nick look on at the "VH1 Big in '05" awards show at Sony Pictures studios in Culver City, California December 3, 2005.   

  • "True, honestly told and interesting"

    Gawker founder Nick Denton is asked to read out a graphic account of the acts shown in the sex tape, which accompanied the video. He says he stands by the piece.  

    "The piece had value. It was true. It was a story honestly told and it was interesting to millions of people," says Denton.

    Nick Denton, founder of Gawker, talks with his legal team before Terry Bollea, aka Hulk Hogan, testifies in court, in St Petersburg, Florida March 8, 2016.  REUTERS/Tampa Bay Times/John Pendygraft 

  • Hogan humiliated

    The 62-year-old ex-wrestler tells jurors that he is no longer "the same person I was before" the tape's posting violated his privacy.

    "I was completely humiliated. It was even embarrassing as my character. Hulk Hogan was embarrassed," he says.

    Terry Bollea, aka Hulk Hogan, testifies in court during his trial against Gawker Media, in St Petersburg, Florida March 8, 2016. REUTERS/Tampa Bay Times/John Pendygraft  

  • Round One: Clash of rights

    In March 2016, the trial begins.

    It is billed as a clash between Hogan’s right to protect his privacy in the bedroom of a trusted friend's home and Gawker’s First Amendment right to publish the news people want to read.

  • "Another man's wife, another man's home"

    Cameron Stracher, a lawyer for Gawker, says he believes the suit is meritless.

    "He's having sex with another man's wife in another man's home," he added. "I'm not sure it's reasonable to say he has an expectation of privacy under the circumstances."

    Photographers are reflected in the sunglasses of Hulk Hogan as he arrives for the 2005 Teen Choice Awards in Universal City, California, August 14, 2005. REUTERS/Chris Pizzello 

  • A $100 million suit

    Hogan, whose real name is Terry Boella, sues Gawker for $100 million. He says that the encounter was recorded without his knowledge and that the tape's release violated his privacy.

    Gawker says it could be forced out of business if they get an unfavorable verdict in the civil trial.

    Hulk Hogan, his then-wife Linda and family arrive at the EMI Post Grammy Party in Los Angeles February 8, 2006. REUTERS/Max Mors 

  • Gawker posts a sex tape of Hulk Hogan

    In 2012, the New York- based website Gawker publishes one minute, 41-seconds of a sex tape sent to its offices. 

    The video features celebrity wrestler Hulk Hogan having sex with the wife of his then-best friend, radio "shock jock" personality Bubba the Love Sponge. 

    Hogan says that the encounter was recorded without his knowledge five years earlier.

    Wrestler Hulk Hogan poses for a photo as a fan also poses as he walks in the Los Angeles Convention Center  in Los Angeles June 7, 2011. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok 

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