Gawker Founder Files for Personal Bankruptcy

     (CN) – Gawker founder Nick Denton filed for personal bankruptcy Monday, just over two months after a Florida judge upheld a $140 million verdict against the gossip news website in the Hulk Hogan invasion of privacy case.
     As a result of the verdict, which is being appealed, Gawker’s parent company declared bankruptcy in June and is up for sale.
     Denton’s 18-page bankruptcy filing says he has $100 million to $500 million in liabilities and that his assets are worth $10 million to $50 million.
     Among those liabilities is $125 million his says he personally owes to Hogan, whose given name is Terry Bollea.
     Denton tweeted on Monday that it was a “bitter day” for him, but that New York-based Gawker Media would “thrive” under new owners.
     An auction of the company is scheduled for mid-August. Publishing company Ziff Davis has bid to buy Gawker Media for $90 million, but another buyer could emerge at the auction.
     Hogan sued Gawker after it posted portions of a video tape showing him having sex with Heather Cole, the former wife of shock jock and the wrestler’s then-best friend Bubba “the Love Sponge” Clem.
     The tape also included post-coitus conversations between Hogan and Cole, including a racially-charged rant against the former wrestler’s daughter’s boyfriend, who is black.
     Although Gawker did not publish information about that conversation, Hogan claims the website released a court-sealed transcript of the tape to the National Enquirer, which wrote a story about Hogan’s racist remarks in 2015. That story prompted the WWE to fire Hogan and wipe all traces of his name from their website and hall of fame.
     Gawker has argued that its footage was newsworthy and protected by the First Amendment.
     After Hogan won his massive jury verdict, it came to light that his lawsuit had been backed by Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel.
     In a memo to Gawker Media staff, Denton wrote that it’s “disturbing to live in a world in which a billionaire can bully journalists because he didn’t like the coverage.”
     Thiel, who co-founded PayPal and was an early investor in Facebook, had been outed as gay by a Gawker-owned website.
     Hogan’s attorney, David Houston, said in a statement Monday that Denton’s bankruptcy “has nothing to do with who paid Mr. Bollea’s legal bills, and everything to do with Denton’s own choices and accountability. If even one person has been spared the humiliation that Mr. Bollea suffered, this is a victory.”

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