As if winning a total of $140 million against Gawker wasn’t enough, wrestler Hulk Hogan is suing the company once again as well as other parties, this time over the alleged extortion and leak of racial comments made on a sex tape. Gawker has responded by saying, “This is getting ridiculous,” and went on to say Hogan is a “litigious celebrity” who is using “the court system to control his public image and media coverage.”
Gawker’s statement went on to say:
“Hulk Hogan is blaming Gawker for racist remarks he made on another sex tape, which Gawker never had. As we’ve said before and are happy to say again: Gawker did not leak the information. It’s time for Hulk Hogan to take responsibility for his own words, because the only person who got Hulk Hogan fired from the WWE is Hulk Hogan.”
The lawsuit stem from racist remarks Hogan made about his daughter Brooke’s boyfriend in a sex tape with his former best friend’s wife. Those remarks came to light before his first Gawker trial in reports made by the National Enquirer and Radar Online. Hogan alleges in his second lawsuit that the tape wound up in the hands of employees of Cox Radio, who wanted to sell it to various media outlets for personal gain.
In addition, the lawsuit alleges the Cox employees were assisted by a talent agent who in turn contacted then-Gawker editor A.J. Daulerio who later published a short excerpt of the sex tape.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, the lawsuit went on to state that Gawker then threatened Hogan it would publish the racist remarks as well:
According to Hogan, Gawker repeatedly threatened him that it would go public about his racially insensitive comments. Gawker has presented the situation differently, saying that the racist comments reveal Hogan’s true motivation for filing a lawsuit and demonstrate his lack of harm about what it published. Regardless of why Gawker pursued discovery, until an appeals court intervened, Hogan was able to get the judge to confer confidentiality on these FBI materials. This meant that Gawker couldn’t disclose what it had learned about the FBI investigation nor present these materials at trial. At the time, Gawker also was contending with backlash from a story it published about a Conde Nast executive’s relationship with a gay porn star.
So if this goes to trial, it will once again put into the spotlight Hulk Hogan’s private life and how far the media can go in reporting such details. The 65-page complaint is again seeking damages from Gawker and for its part, the company states, “It was absurd enough that Hulk Hogan claimed $100m for emotional distress and economic damage for a story about a sex life that he’d already made public.”