Gawker Media reached a settlement Wednesday with former professional wrestler Hulk Hogan, ending a years-long legal battle over Gawker’s publication of a sex tape of Hogan having sex with a friend’s wife. A Florida jury awarded Hogan, whose real name is Terry Bollea, $140 million earlier this year, prompting the media company to file for bankruptcy shortly thereafter. The two sides agreed to a $31 million settlement, plus a portion of the proceeds from the sale of Gawker, which has agreed to discontinue its appeal in the case.
“After four years of litigation funded by a billionaire with a grudge going back even further, a settlement has been reached. The saga is over,” former Gawker CEO Nick Denton wrote in a blog post Wednesday. “Yes, we were confident the appeals court would reduce or eliminate the runaway Florida judgment against Gawker, the writer of the Hogan story and myself personally… But all-out legal war with Thiel would have cost too much, and hurt too many people, and there was no end in sight.”
Earlier this year, it was revealed that Hogan’s lawsuit, along with others, was funded by Silicon Valley’s Peter Thiel, who was pursuing his own personal vendetta against the site for its alleged role in outing the tech billionaire as gay. “It is a great day for Terry Bollea and a great day for everyone’s right to privacy,” Thiel said in a statement Wednesday. “[A]ll parties have agreed it is time to move on,” a lawyer for Hogan said.