Aside from Nobody Speak, the Netflix documentary detailing wrestler Hulk Hogan’s legal fight against the website Gawker, billionaire Peter Thiel has largely avoided the spotlight since the 2016 presidential election. Although the former Gawker target reportedly thinks Donald Trump’s time in office will end in failure, the Facebook board member remains one of the president’s more consistent supporters among the nation’s wealthiest business entrepreneurs. However, BuzzFeed News thrust Thiel back into public view on Wednesday when it revealed his legal team is laying the groundwork for a potential Gawker buyout.
According to the report, Thiel’s lawyers filed a federal bankruptcy court filing challenging a provision from the original decision that prevented Hogan’s financier from attempting to buy Gawker.com or its parent company:
The filing, which comes more than a year after the revelation that Thiel helped finance a clandestine legal war to destroy Gawker.com’s parent company, Gawker Media, lays the groundwork for the Facebook board member’s possible bid for the dormant website. While its sister sites were sold to Univision in August 2016 for $135 million following Gawker Media’s bankruptcy, a bankruptcy plan administrator has not been able to find a buyer for Gawker.com. Whoever ends up buying the site will also buy its archives, which are still up, and will have the right to do with them what they want, including delete them.
Whether or not the motion will actually lead to the provision’s cessation, and thereby allow Thiel to bid on Gawker Media, remains to be seen. Even so, the very prospect that the man who paid for Hogan’s legal case against the website — largely due to its previous coverage of his business dealings and personal life — is a dark one. After all, if Thiel managed to buy Gawker.com, he would be within his rights to delete its archives, just as Joe Ricketts decided to delete the contents of DNA Info New York and Gothamist in early November.
(Via BuzzFeed News)