A jury in Florida has awarded Hulk Hogan $115 million in his sex tape lawsuit against Gawker Media, which began in 2012. The verdict comes after two weeks of testimony and hours of deliberation on Friday.
The jury decided that Hogan has gone through severe emotional distress in the last three years since Gawker published excerpts of a video, which he claimed was secretly recorded, of Hogan having sex his best friend’s then-wife.
Hogan, born Terry Bollea, was the first to take the witness stand and testified that the publication of the sex tape has “turned my world upside down” and “completely humiliated” him.
Gawker asserts that its publication of the footage was protected by the First Amendment.
“I believe in total freedom and information transparency,” said founder Nick Denton in court. “I’m an extremist when it comes to that.”
Denton released a statement on Friday following the ruling.
“Given key evidence and the most important witness were both improperly withheld from this jury, we all knew the appeals court will need to resolve the case,” he said. “I want to thank our lawyers for their outstanding work and am confident that we would have prevailed at trial if we had been allowed to present the full case to the jury. That’s why we feel very positive about the appeal that we have already begun preparing, as we expect to win this case ultimately.”
Hogan won $115 million which is a whooping $15 million more than he had sought and he can still receive more in punitive damages.