(CN) – Two former Gawker editors faced a withering cross-examination on Monday as the Hulk Hogan sex-tape trial entered its second week.
Attorneys for Hulk Hogan – whose given name is Terry Bollea – put A.J. Daulerio and Emma Carmichael on the defensive for publishing portions of the tape showing the wrestler having sex with the former wife of Bollea’s then-best friend Bubba “the Love Sponge” Clem.
Daulerio, who wrote the post containing the sex video, is named as a defendant in the lawsuit, along with Gawker and its founder, Nick Denton. Carmichael was managing editor when the tape excerpt was posted.
“Mr. Bollea’s penis had no news value, right?” Shane Vogt, one of Bollea’s attorneys, asked Daulerio.
“No,” Daulerio answered.
When asked if publishing the video would “emotionally distress” Bollea, the former Gawker editor in chief responded, “That’s not my job.”
Daulerio’s defense – and that of the gossip website – rests on the notion that Bollea talked publicly about his sex life, which made the tape newsworthy. On the stand last week, Bollea said the post invaded his privacy. He is seeking for $100 million in damages.
Daulerio admitted that after watching the sex tape in 2012, it “amused” him and that he directed a staffer to make a 100-second highlight reel of the tape. When asked why he didn’t blur out private parts, Daulerio said he did not think it was necessary.
“The footage was poor to begin with and there was really not that much time focused on the actual sexual activity,” he said.
Daulerio also made no apologies for publishing articles unfavorable to celebrities.
“Sometimes when you put information out there into the public that is not something the person you are going to write about is going to like, it can come off as pretty callous,” he said. “But that is my job and this is the job of journalists to put information out there that’s fair and accurate.”
Daulerio also admitted he made a $2,000 bonus off increased traffic to the site.
Bollea’s attorney Vogt also attacked Daulerio for a comment he made in a 2013 deposition, saying he would only consider not publishing a sex tape if it involved a child under four. Daulerio and Gawker have said the comment was sarcastic. Vogt played the deposition again for the jury and asked if Daulerio thought child pornography was a joke. Daulerio’s attorney Michael Sullivan objected and ended the line of questioning.
Carmichael faced similar questions about the sex tape’s newsworthiness. At one point, Bollea’s attorney asked her if the sex tape constituted “revenge porn.” She said it did not. As current editor of Jezebel, a Gawker-affiliated website dedicated to women’s issues, Carmichael has edited posts critical of revenge porn.
But Carmichael received the most shocking question from a juror. (Florida allows jurors to pass questions to the judge in civil cases.)
Judge Pamela Campbell read the question: “Do you have or did you have an intimate relationship with either Mr. Daulerio or Mr. Denton?”
“No,” she answered.
In other developments, Judge Campbell ruled Bubba “the Love Sponge” Clem does not have to testify in front of a jury. Last week, the Tampa-based shock jock filed a motion to quash a subpoena, arguing he would “plead the Fifth,” seeking protection under the Fifth Amendment’s protection against self-incrimination.
The sex tape was filmed at Clem’s home. Bollea settled an earlier action with Clem for $5,000.
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