Tech billionaire Peter Thiel funded the lawsuit that could put Gawker out of business | The Tylt
You may have heard that Hulk Hogan sued Gawker for $140M - enough to potentially put the digital publisher out of business. What is coming to light now is that tech billionaire Peter Thiel, an aggressive libertarian and Trump supporter, funded the lawsuit with his own money.
This is totally legal. It's called proxy litigation and in this case, it allowed a really rich person to settle an old score without going to court himself. Since the stakes are so high in this situation and the target is a publisher, many people think it sets a bad precedent. Do we want to let billionaires kill publications they don't agree with by dragging them through lawsuits? This almost happened to Mother Jones in 2015 ("We Were Sued by a Billionaire Political Donor. We Won. Here's What Happened").
But Thiel says he isn't going after Gawker for political power. And Gawker isn't exactly a noble defender of the First Amendment. In 2007 Gawker outed Peter Thiel as gay in a pretty insensitive manner. The headline read "Peter Thiel is totally gay, people." Gawker in general prides itself on pushing the boundaries of journalistic ethics. At times this leads to arguably important coverage. Gawker helped expose Toronto Mayor Rob Ford's drug problem. But Gawker also exposed the CFO of a media company for cheating on his wife with a male prostitute. This was not a public figure and the story was roundly criticized. And let's not forget, there was a real lawsuit in the mix that began when Gawker published Hulk Hogan's private sex tape.
Maybe Gawker had the lawsuit coming and it doesn't matter who bankrolls it. Maybe this is #SweetTheilRevenge. On the other hand, if successful it's a blueprint for other billionaires to silence earnest and needed reporting they don't agree with. Do we want the 1% going around suing publications left and right? Is this #BadTheilPrecedent?
Tech billionaire Peter Thiel funded the lawsuit that could put Gawker out of business
Thiel's a monster, but fuck Gawker too.— .@ZekeWeeks (@zekeweeks) May 26, 2016
Fuck Gawker for outing Thiel.
Fuck Gawker for inventing scandals about Leo Laporte's family.