The long and extremely costly legal battle between Terry “Hulk Hogan” Bollea and Gawker has come to an end, with Gawker founder Nick Denton revealing that he has settled with Bollea for an undisclosed sum (though it’s most likely somewhere around $31 million). Bollea had sued Gawker for posting a sex tape of him back in 2012, and a jury in Florida decided in Bollea’s favor back in March, awarding him around $140 million. This prompted Gawker Media to file for bankruptcy, with its entire family of sites—minus Gawker itself—eventually being sold to Univision.
News of this settlement comes from Deadline, which reports that Denton released a statement on his personal website under the title “A Hard Peace” that lays out why he decided to stop appealing the court’s decision and what this means for the rest of Gawker Media. As he explains, he was “confident” that an appeals court would “reduce or eliminate the runaway Florida judgement against Gawker,” but he decided continuing to fight would “cost too much” and “hurt too many people” due to the involvement of billionaire Peter Thiel, who he calls “Gawker’s nemesis.”
Thiel had essentially funded Hulk Hogan’s lawsuit so he could stick it to Gawker, and he made it clear in a New York Times opinion piece that he had no intention of ever backing down from his mission to destroy the Gawker brand and anyone else associated with it. Denton figured it would too difficult to beat Thiel, so he has chosen to settle with Bollea and allow the remaining Gawker sites and anyone else dragged down by this whole mess to move past it. As for Thiel, Denton closes his post by saying that “he is now for a wider group of people to contemplate.”
[Note: The A.V. Club is owned by Univision Communications.]