Jury awards Hulk Hogan $115 million in Gawker sex tape suit
Marlene Breverman stashed this in Celebrity Privacy Rights
Hogan's attorneys told jurors this is the core of the case: "Gawker took a secretly recorded sex tape and put it on the Internet."
Hogan didn't ask for any of this to happen, lawyer Kenneth Turkel said, adding that Bollea [Hogan], the private man, expected privacy during an intimate moment. Much was made during the trial of Hogan's celebrity persona versus Bollea's privacy.
Stashed in: Privacy does not exist.
Gawker's attorneys told the jury that the video is "not like a real celebrity sex tape" and urged them to watch the video, which contains nine seconds of sexual content.
They pointed out that news of the sex tape first appeared on at least two websites: TMZ and The Dirty. Hogan went on TMZ's TV program to talk about it, and later, appeared on the Howard Stern show.
"He has consistently chosen to put his private life out there, for public consumption," said attorney Michael Sullivan.
He also criticized Hogan's claim that he was in Hulk Hogan persona when he was doing interviews.
"An actor playing a character does that on set, but when they go on a talk show, they're themselves," Sullivan said.
Sullivan called into question whether the tape was all a celebrity stunt to drum up publicity for Hogan's career.
He suggested that although the jurors might find the video, Gawker and Hogan's sex life distasteful, they must protect the First Amendment right to free speech.
"We ask you to protect something that some of you may find unpleasant," he said. "To write, to speak, to think about all topics, to hold public figures accountable. It is right in the long run for our freedoms."
Distasteful or not, $115 million is a lot of money.
At the end of all the inevitable, expensive appeals and what-not, some people are predicting Gawker's demise.
That would certainly send a message.