On Friday, a Florida jury had awarded Hulk Hogan, a celebrity wrestler, $115 million after finding the Gawker website violating his privacy by publishing his sex tape.
After deliberating 6 hours, the jury had awarded Hulk Hogan $55 million for the economic damages and $60 million for the emotional distress
“This’s a victory for everyone who has had their privacy violated,” said David Houston, Hogan’s attorney.
As the award was pronounced, the 62-year-old wrestling icon had cried & hugged his attorney.
The case had drawn attention as the digital-age test of a celebrity’s privacy rights & the freedom of press under First Amendment of US Constitution.
Nick Denton, the Gawker publisher said that the website would appeal the verdict. Gawker attorney had previously said that a loss could put website out of business.
“We all knew the appeals court will need to resolve the case,” said Nick Denton. “We feel very positive about the appeal that we’ve already begun preparing, as we expect to win this case ultimately,” he added.
Hulk Hogan, whose legitimate name is Terry Bollea, sought $100 million in damages over the edited video that Gawker had published online in year 2012.
The jury of 2 men and 4 women agreed with Hulk Hogan that his privacy had indeed been violated, and that it had caused him harm & also that he had a reasonable expectation of his privacy.
First Amendment expert and a professor of law & mass communications at the Florida University, Clay Calvert, stated that such a large verdict was almost definite to be pared back on the appeal, if not reversed.
“Juries generally don’t like media,” he said “The appellate court is a little more neutral.”
Gawker, the website said that the publishing was in keeping with its mission to cover interesting & true subjects and stressed that Hulk Hogan made his sex life a public matter.
Denton along with the editor who was responsible for the post, Mr. A.J. Daulerio, were called as defense witnesses, they both were named in lawsuit, and stood by the post that Denton said “stands up to the test of time.”