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Gawker files for bankruptcy after Hulk Hogan lawsuit

USA TODAY logo USA TODAY 10/06/2016 Roger Yu

Hulk Hogan,  leaves the courtroom during a break Wednesday, March 9. 2016, in his trial against Gawker Media © AP Photo/Steve Nesius, Pool Hulk Hogan, leaves the courtroom during a break Wednesday, March 9. 2016, in his trial against Gawker Media Gawker Media, which was recently ordered to pay up to $140 million to Hulk Hogan, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Friday, conceding its difficult future following a contentious invasion-of-privacy lawsuit brought by the former wrestler.  

Nick Denton, founder of the online media company that owns the namesake news website, Deadspin, Jezebel and other blogs, has been looking to sell the company's assets after a judge denied last month its motion to seek a new trial. 

In its filing with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York, Gawker is seeking to reorganize under the bankruptcy protection and there's no indication, as of yet, that it will cease publication. Gawker listed estimated assets of $50 million to $100 million and liabilities of $100 million to $500 million.

Gawker couldn't immediately be reached for comment. 

Terry Bollea, aka Hulk Hogan, sued Gawker for $100 million after the site posted a video in 2012 of him having sex with his former best friend’s wife. Hogan argued in court that it was a violation of his privacy, and a Florida jury awarded him $55 million for economic injuries and $65 million for emotional distress.

Gawker also has to pay $25 million in punitive damages. Bollea (Hogan) was listed as Gawker's biggest creditor in its bankruptcy filing.  

The case was a hot topic of discussion in media, technology and entertainment circles. Last month, Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel admitted that he's been secretly funding Hogan's lawsuit, saying the media company sought to destroy people's lives. In 2007, Valleywag, a Gawker blog, posted a story about Thiel -- “Peter Thiel is totally gay, people.”

Thiel's funding triggered concerns about the possibility of First Amendment rights being quashed by wealthy individuals' funding of third-party legal claims against media organizations.


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