The gossip site released a portion of Hogan’s sex tape in 2012. Daulerio is the defendant in the case, having released the excerpts years ago. Company attorney Mike Berry defended the site’s editorial philosophy on Monday, calling its brand of reporting “important.” “Gawker believes this kind of reporting is important,” Berry said, according to Reuters.
During opening statements, Hogan’s attorney Shane Vogt slammed Gawker, saying its guided by “power and profit,” according to CNN. “It is important for writers to be able to address uncomfortable subjects — whether the subject is mental health, whether the subject is drugs, whether the subject is celebrity sex tapes.” Vogt, however, argued that Gawker’s intent was not to inform, but rather to hurt Hogan.
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Hulk Hogan’s $100 million civil trial against Gawker Media for the release of his sex tape kicked off on Monday, with the pro wrestler’s lawyers arguing that the website intended to do “harm” to him with the leak.
“What we’re going to prove to you is that they intended to harm him,” Vogt told jurors.
During the first day of the trial, Vogt showed the jury internal memos to highlight Gawker’s focus on traffic, as well as internal Gawker staff chats at the time showing the workers mocking Hogan.
Gawker’s is that the sex-tape excerpts constituted newsworthy reporting on a public figure: As Gawker has pointed out, Bollea publicly discussed his sex life — including the question of whether he’d had sex with the woman in the tape, Heather Clem, wife of radio shock jock Bubba the Love Sponge Clem. At stake are questions of free speech, newsworthiness, and privacy that resonate across a changing media landscape.