HOLLYWOOD—What happens when someone invades your privacy? You sue, the good, old, American way. That’s exactly what Hulk Hogan did a few years ago. The defunct US news website Gawker has settled a lawsuit won by retired US professional wrestler Hulk Hogan for $31 million. The privacy case forced Gawker to declare bankruptcy earlier this year, after a jury awarded Mr. Hogan over $140 million over a leaked sex tape. Mr. Hogan’s legal bill was paid by tech billionaire Peter Thiel, who said he wanted to curb Gawker’s “bullying.”
Gawker was forced to shut down in August following the judgement. The website, which launched in the early 2000s, was known for its acerbic tone and aggressive coverage of celebrities. This case involved a video posted by Gawker in 2012 after Mr. Hogan was secretly recorded having sex with his friend’s wife. The settlement was announced on Wednesday in a blog post by Gawker founder Nick Denton, who called the conclusion of the case “a hard peace.” According to published reports, he said the company and staff were confident the appeals process would reduce the judgement against Gawker, but that all-out legal war would have cost too much, and hurt too many people, and there was no end in sight.” Mr. Denton also said that as part of the settlement, three “true stories” would be “removed from the web.”
As you may know, Mr. Thiel co-founded PayPal and was an early stakeholder in Facebook. In a New York Times article back in August, he explained why he had funded the case, he said his own privacy had been violated when Gawker outed him as a gay man in 2007. Many groups criticized Mr. Thiel’s “secret” involvement in the case, calling it a “serious threat” to press freedom. As part of the deal, two other cases against Gawker journalists were also dropped, according to the blog post by Mr. Denton.
He also concluded that the settlement allows us all to move on, and focus on activities more productive than endless litigation. Mr. Denton, who was also held liable along with the journalist who wrote the article, filed for personal bankruptcy following the $140 million judgement. Gawker media also filed for bankruptcy, and shuttered the long-running blog Gawker.com in August. The sister sites, however, on the media network- including Deadspin, Polygon and Jezebel-were acquired by Univision, and continue to operate.
If you think lawsuits settle quickly, think again. The 2008 case between Sam Lufti and Britney Spears and family just settled two months ago. In the lawsuit, Lufti claimed Spears father actually struck him. Lufti also alleged that Spears mother lied about him in the memoir. Details of the settlement were not released by the court, and it is very unlikely either party is free to release the actual numbers. After this action was initially dismissed by the lower court in 2012, Lufti appealed the dismissal and won.
TMZ, however, is reporting that Spears paid Lufti in the low six figures to settle the case, which they estimate is less than the half million dollar attorneys costs Spears would have to shoulder to take the case to trial. The settlement came after many years of courtroom battles. a mere drop in the bucket for Britney Spears who makes an estimated $30.5 million, according to Forbes.
While some people win money from lawsuits, others work for it like Taylor Swift who is the highest paid woman in music. According to Forbes annual list, the 26-year-old pop star has amassed earnings of $170 million over the past year, mainly thanks to a world tour named after her recent “1989” album. Adele ranked second with estimated pre-tax income of $80.5 million. Madonna comes in third place with an estimated $76.5 million and Rihanna following closely behind. Beyoncé came in fifth place, with a pre-tax income estimated at $54 million, according to Forbes.
Rose’s Scoop: Axl Rose frontman for Guns N Roses continues on his world wide tour in South America, he is currently in Argentina till the 5th of November than heads for Brazil. For the first time will perform in Singapore.