Friday, June 10, 2016

Gawker files for chapter 11 bankruptcy after $140 million judgement in the Hulk Hogan case.

Gawker founder Nick Denton after losing the case filed by Hulk Hogan. AP.

Gawker has filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy after losing the case against Hulk Hogan. New York Times. The jury awarded Hulk Hogan $140 million after Gawker had posted a sex tape of him on their website without his permission. Peter Thiel, a founder of Paypal, who was outed by Gawker, funded the lawsuit. Filing for bankruptcy will put any payments to Hogan on hold. The Gawker group of websites has been put up for sale and already has a bid for $90 million from Ziff Davis.

My Comment:
This is a huge victory against Gawker. What they did to Hulk Hogan was both wrong and arrogant as hell. Not only did they post stolen film, they also refused to take it down when ordered to by a judge. For that alone they deserved to be punished but this is not the only thing that they have done that makes them deserve to go out of business. 

I've already talked about how they outed David Geithner for no good reason, but that is not the only person who they have attacked. In that case it was never even clear if the rumor was true, since the case devolved into a he said-he said situation. But Gakwer's own Vallywag blog outed Peter Thiel, back in a time were it wasn't as nice to be gay in the business world. That came back to bit Gawker in the ass because Thiel funded Hogan's lawsuit.

Some people have complained about that since they claim it was a violation of free speech. That's complete BS because free speech doesn't cover what Gawker did. You can't libel someone and then complain when they sue you. You also can't violate judges orders and generally act like tools. I don't think that there is any reason to suspect that this an assault on free speech. The media just wants to be able to libel people without them having an option.

Indeed, the most disturbing part of this is that even someone as rich as Hulk Hogan had to resort to Peter Thiel's support just to be able to sue Gawker. Hogan has money but even he was unable to afford a lawsuit of this caliber. Without Thiel, this lawsuit would have never gotten off the ground.

Instead, I think that that shows what the real threat to free speech is. It's the media itself. Especially when they act like Gakwer and think they are above the law. Right now if you are just a poor schlep like me, if you speak out about the wrong topic, the media can smear you and you would have no recourse. It takes millions of dollars to file a suit against a major media empire like Gawker and that is beyond the reach of most of their victims. The actions of Peter Thiel has at least put a little fear into the media and perhaps a little hope to people that are victimized by them.

I am hoping that Gawker will be destroyed but it seems unlikely. If the Ziff Davis deal happens most of its proprieties will survive in some form. I do expect many people to lose their jobs though. The writers at Gawker and the various sub blogs are toxic assets right now and even if the companies get re-branded, they will have to get rid of the writers just to avoid being attacked. Destroying the cooperate culture is way more important then destroying the actual websites that make up Gawker though.

I hope this bankruptcy represents a massive change in the way Gawker operates. Gawker itself was a gossip blog and was also hugely hypocritical. They outed and abused gay people even though Nick Denton was gay. They also bashed anyone that looked at the Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton nude leaks as sexual predators but also hosted Hulk Hogan's sex tape. And even though they spouted progressive values, they also did not display any tolerance whatsoever.

And it's not like its other properties were any better. The less that is said about Jezebel the better and Kotaku was largely responsible for the Gamergate scandal that happened awhile back. The Gawker media group has been famously hostile to almost anyone and I will not be mourning them when they finally shut down. Given what is happening right now, I hope that comes sooner rather then later... 

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