Judge affirms $140 million judgment against Gawker could chill media investigations

Gawker media has hired an investment banker to explore a possible sale after it lost another round in court yesterday to Hulk Hogan.

The judge who oversaw the trial refused to reduce the jury's $140-million judgement against the tabloid news site. She also refused to order a new trial. Hogan successfully sued for invasion of privacy. Gawker posted a portion of a video showing Hogan having sex with his then-friend's wife. Radio host Bubba the Love Sponge Clem recorded the activity between his then-wife and Hogan. Hogan says he didn't know they were being videotaped.

Yesterday, PayPal co-founder and major Facebook investor Peter Thiel admitted bankrolling Hogan's lawsuit. He claims Gawker and its sister Silicon Valley publication Valleywag ruined people's lives for no reason. Several years ago, Valleywag outed Thiel as gay and mocked Facebook and its founder Mark Zuckerberg.

Gawker says it'll appeal, but is the judge's affirmation of the jury's big award likely to chill tabloid media's future celebrity covereage?

What are the prospects for an appeal? Which entities might this verdict most effect?


Rick Edmonds, media business analyst at Poynter

Jose Lambiet, veteran gossip writer and columnist; Publisher, GossipExtra.com

Danielle Citron, Law Professor specializing in privacy law, University of Maryland