PayPal Founder May Be Behind Legal Attack on Gawker

Peter Thiel reportedly funding Hulk Hogan's lawsuit
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 25, 2016 6:48 AM CDT
PayPal Founder May Be Behind Legal Attack on Gawker
A 2012 photo of Peter Thiel.   (AP Photo/Ben Margot, File)

The founder of PayPal has long made clear that he hates Gawker. Now Forbes reports that Peter Thiel is using his billions to fund a potentially devastating legal fight against the media group. Specifically, the report says Thiel has been secretly funding Hulk Hogan's lawsuits against Gawker over the publication of a sex tape featuring the wrestler. A jury awarded Hogan $140 million in one case, though Gawker is appealing, and Hogan has another suit in the works. Gawker chief Nick Denton had told the New York Times earlier this week that he suspected a third party was funding Hogan's fight, though he didn't name Thiel publicly.

As both stories note, Gawker (via its now-shuttered Valleywag site) outed the then-closeted Thiel as gay in 2007, and Thiel subsequently likened the website to al-Qaeda. "I think they should be described as terrorists, not as writers or reporters," he told Reuters in 2009, per the Washington Post. The revelation would answer one question that has baffled legal observers: Why didn't Hogan try to settle his suit rather than risk a trial? Thiel's involvement would suggest that it's more about hurting Gawker than coming to any kind of legal settlement, notes recode. (More Gawker stories.)

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