Gawker Media filed two motions in court Monday appealing the decision of a Tampa jury to award wrestler Hulk Hogan $140 million in a lawsuit he filed after the website posted a portion of Hogan’s sex tape.
In 2012, Gawker posted a video of Hogan having sex with the then-wife of his former friend, radio shock jock Bubba the Love Sponge, whose real name is Todd Clem. A jury awarded Hogan, whose real name is Terry Bollea, $115 million in compensatory damages and over $25 million in punitive damages after he argued the video was an invasion of privacy.
Gawker argued that its story, which featured over 1,000 words of text in addition to the video, was protected by the First Amendment, and Hogan’s sex life was of public interest because he openly discussed it in years prior to the tape’s publishing.
“Gawker is now beginning the process of challenging the jury's verdict in a trial where key evidence was wrongly withheld and the jury was not properly instructed on the Constitutional standards for newsworthiness,” the media company said in a statement to People. “So we expect to be fully vindicated. And even if the verdict were to stand, there is no justification for awarding tens of millions of dollars never seen by victims of death and serious injuries.”