Months after Hulk Hogan sex tape verdict, Gawker to shut down

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Photo: Paul Kane/Getty Images

A few months after a jury awarded pro wrestler Hulk Hogan $115 million in his sex tape lawsuit against Gawker Media, the celebrity gossip outlet says it’s ending operations.

Photo: Paul Kane/Getty Images

Photo: Paul Kane/Getty Images

Gawker announced the move on its web site:

After nearly 14 years of operation, Gawker.com will be shutting down next week. The decision to close Gawker comes days after Univision successfully bid $135 million for Gawker Media’s six other websites, and four months after the Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel revealed his clandestine legal campaign against the company.

Nick Denton, the company’s outgoing CEO, informed current staffers of the site’s fate on Thursday afternoon, just hours before a bankruptcy court in Manhattan will decide whether to approve Univision’s bid for Gawker Media’s other assets. Staffers will soon be assigned to other editorial roles, either at one of the other six sites or elsewhere within Univision. Near-term plans for Gawker.com’s coverage, as well as the site’s archives, have not yet been finalized.”

Following a 2007 Gawker article that said he was gay, Thiel anonymously funded a series of lawsuits against the media organization. The Hogan suit led to the company filing bankruptcy and putting itself up for sale.

Jurors took fewer than six hours to return the verdict in March after a trial that lasted two weeks.

Hogan, whose given name is Terry Bollea, sued Gawker for $100 million for posting a video in 2012 of him having sex with his former best friend’s wife. Hogan contended it was a violation of his privacy. Gawker’s editors contended the video and an accompanying post was a newsworthy commentary on the ordinariness of celebrity sex videos.


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