Hulk Hogan sex tape showed him 'as a person,' Gawker founder says

Gawker Media founder Nick Denton testified Wednesday that his gossip website decided to post a Hulk Hogan sex video because "it showed Hogan as a person."

Wrestler and media personality suing Gawker Media for $100M US for publishing sex tape

Hulk Hogan, whose given name is Terry Bollea, leaves the courtroom during a break Wednesday in his trial against Gawker Media in St. Petersburg, Fla. (Steve Nesius/Pool/Associated Press)

Jurors in the Hulk Hogan sex video trial heard Wednesday from a University of Florida journalism professor who questioned the Gawker website's decision not to contact Hogan, the woman in the video or the woman's husband when it posted the video.

"It's important to get all sides of a story," Prof. Mike Foley said. He will face cross-examination when court resumes Thursday.

He added that in his opinion the sex video was an example of "undue intrusiveness."

Hogan, whose given name is Terry Bollea, is suing Gawker Media for $100 million US for posting the edited video showing him having sex with his then best friend's wife. Hogan has said he didn't know he was being filmed when the video was made.

'It's up to others to determine the boundaries'

Gawker Media founder Nick Denton also testified Wednesday. He said his gossip website decided to post the sex video because "it showed Hogan as a person."

Denton was in the courtroom Wednesday afternoon, but attorneys for Hogan played his video testimony recorded in a 2013 deposition.

Denton said in the deposition that "it's up to others to determine the boundaries of accepted social, journalistic and legal norms."

Hogan and his attorneys sent Denton a cease and desist order, but Denton didn't take down the video post because he said he thought it had news value.

On Wednesday morning, Gawker reporter A.J. Daulerio said that when he received the Hogan sex video in the mail it was "very amusing" and that he, too, thought it was newsworthy.

A legitimate scoop?

Gawker says the publication was a legitimate scoop because Hogan is a public figure who had talked openly about his sex life before, in forums such as Howard Stern's radio show.

The six-person jury may have to grapple with questions about how celebrity status affects expectations of privacy.

Hogan's attorney, David Houston, was also called to the witness stand Wednesday. He described how he sent Gawker a cease and desist letter to take the video down, and then how the video began showing up on other websites.

"I know some like to call it viral, but in this case, it was cancer," he said.


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