Last year, Hulk Hogan‘s life and livelihood took a major hit, not to mention his view in the public eye, as a result of a trial between him and the Gawker website revolving around their posting of his sex tape. The tape, and its subsequently being linked to racist and homophobic rants from Hogan, led to his being sacked by WWE and scrubbed from the history books. Hogan won his court case against Gawker — big time — but there was still the appeals process to possibly sit through.
Now, Deadline reports that the long, strange, ridiculous, interminable saga is likely at an end. Court filings state that the settlement amount is in the neighborhood of $31 million dollars paid to Hogan, but that number is not official or final. Gawker founder Nick Denton posted a statement on his personal blog today in response to the settlement being finalized.
After four years of litigation funded by a billionaire with a grudge going back even further, a settlement has been reached. The saga is over.
As the most unpalatable part of the deal, three true stories — about Hulk Hogan, the claim by Shiva Ayyadurai that he invented email and the feud between the founders of Tinder — are being removed from the web.
Yes, we were confident the appeals court would reduce or eliminate the runaway Florida judgment against Gawker, the writer of the Hogan story and myself personally. And we expected to prevail in those other two lawsuits by clients of Charles Harder, the lawyer backed by Peter Thiel.
But all-out legal war with Thiel would have cost too much, and hurt too many people, and there was no end in sight. The Valley billionaire, famously relentless, had committed publicly to support Hulk Hogan beyond the appeal and “until his final victory.” Gawker’s nemesis was not going away.
Hogan had won his court case against Gawker and the jury had ruled that Gawker must pay him $140.1 million for damages … an amount that threw Gawker into bankruptcy and led to the sale of the company. As in most cases where there is a gigantic sum awarded, Hogan will not get the full amount … but he will still have his demands about scrubbing the story met, and will walk away with a monster payday.
In recent months, WWE has been testing the waters of renewing a partnership with Hogan by having his voice prominently appear on ads for the WWE Network. With the court case at an end, it’s highly likely the two sides will kiss and make up, possibly with a Hogan appearance at next year’s WrestleMania.