On Friday, Hulk Hogan won $115 million from Gawker for publishing a sex tape of him without his consent. That was the Atomic Leg Drop. Now it’s time for the ten count.
The lawyers for Hulk Hogan urged jurors Monday to “send a message” and “make a statement” by awarding him millions of dollars more in punitive damages in his invasion-of-privacy case — while Gawker’s attorneys insisted that the $115 million compensatory judgment against the gossip Web site is already “punishment enough.”
“You send a message. You make a statement. And that statement is, ‘We’re going to draw a line,’” the pro-wrestler’s lawyer, Kenneth Turkel, told jurors…
But Gawker’s lawyer, Michael Berry, reminded jurors of what the judge instructed them earlier in the day — that they “may not award an amount in punitive damages that would financially destroy or bankrupt any of the defendants…”
“You are now being asked to punish my clients, an additional punishment that is unnecessary. One hundred fifteen million dollars is punishment enough.”
Or, in wrestling terms: The chicken heel played dirty the whole match. The Hulkster finally managed to get the upper hand anyway. And now the heel is cowering in the corner, begging for mercy, hoping to catch his opponent off guard once more. Gawker is hoping that a jury is as easily distracted as a ref.
I’m told that Hogan doesn’t have the right to privacy, that this is a strike against the First Amendment, because Hogan has bragged about his sexual conquests on the radio and elsewhere. That sounds a lot like claiming a woman can’t be raped if she’s ever consented to sex. Or that it’s okay to steal Jennifer Lawrence’s nude selfies and put them on the Internet because, hey, she’s practically naked in those X-Men movies anyway.
It’s about the consent, dummies. Hogan did not consent to the publishing of this video. He begged Gawker to take it down. They refused. They knew they didn’t have consent, and they did whatever they wanted anyway. They didn’t care who they hurt, because caring who they hurt doesn’t make them any money.
If money is the only thing Nick Denton understands, then let that be the medium of the jury’s response. You can’t shame the shameless, but you can make them reconsider the long-term wisdom of their business decisions.
What a great day for America. Everybody sing!
Update: The ref was not distracted.