Shuttered irreverent news website Gawker Media LLC has reached a $31 million cash settlement with Hulk Hogan, the former professional wrestler who won a $140 million judgment against the site over a leaked sex tape.
Hogan’s judgment forced Gawker, known for its sassy tone and gossipy posts, into bankruptcy in June. Its sister websites, including sports site Deadspin and women’s site Jezebel, were acquired for $135 million by media company Univision Holdings Inc. in a bankruptcy auction last summer.
“As with any negotiation for resolution, all parties have agreed it is time to move on,” said Hogan’s attorney, David Houston.
The settlement is subject to approval by a bankruptcy judge.
Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel said in May he helped fund the invasion of the privacy lawsuit filed by Hogan, whose real name is Terry Bollea. The site published an article in 2007 about Thiel’s homosexuality.
“It is a great day for Terry Bollea and a great day for everyone’s right to privacy,” Thiel said.
Gawker founder Nick Denton, who filed for personal bankruptcy to protect himself from Hogan’s judgment, has accused Thiel of using his wealth to carry out a vendetta against him and the site.
Denton, in a blog post published Wednesday, said an “all-out legal war with Thiel would have cost too much, and hurt too many people,” even though he was confident a court would have reduced or eliminated the judgment.
“There was no end in sight,” Denton wrote.
The settlement also calls for Hogan to receive some proceeds from a possible future sale of Gawker.com, which was not included in the sale to Univision.
(Reporting by Jessica DiNapoli; Editing by Andrew Hay and Jeffrey Benkoe)
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