Ex-pro wrestler Hulk Hogan has been awarded millions in damages, after a Florida jury found that the Gawker website violated his privacy after publishing a sex tape. Gawker has said they will appeal the decision.
A Florida jury on Friday has awarded celebrity Hulk Hogan $115 million (102 million euros) in damages. Hogan has been awarded $60 million (53 million euros) for emotional distress and $55 million (48 million euros) for economic damages, with the possibility of more when the jury deliberates again on Monday to award punitive damages.
Gawker founder Nick Denton has said he would appeal the decision based on evidence not presented in court.
"Given the key evidence and the most important witness in this case were withheld from the jury, we all knew the appeals court will need to resolve the case," Denton said in a statement.
"We feel very positive about the appeal that we have already begun preparing, as we expect to win this case ultimately."
However, the win satisfied Hogan's attorney who said the victory was "for everyone who has had their privacy violated." As the win was announced, the 62-year-old ex-wrestler cried and hugged his attorney.
Viral sex tape
Gawker – a New York-based media outlet known for gossip – had posted a one-minute, 41-second sex tape on its website in 2012. The video showed Hogan engaging in sexual acts with the wife of radio "shock jock" Bubba the Love Sponge Clem, who was reportedly Hogan's friend. The video was viewed more than 2.5 million times on the website.
Hogan testified that the public video humiliated him, and maintained that he didn't know the sexual encounter had been video recorded. He previously sought $100 (88 million euros) million in damages.
The case drew national attention as a test for the privacy rights of celebrities and for freedom of the press rights under the First Amendment of the US Constitution.
Gawker stressed that Hogan, who was a star of World Wrestling Entertainment and whose legal name is Terry Bollea, had made his sex life a public matter, maintaining that the posting of the video was in its rights to cover true and interesting content.
smm/ (AP, Reuters)