Hulk Hogan's sex tape may never have made him the big bucks if he had sold it. But thanks to Gawker, which posted clippings from the video on its site in 2012, the American wrestler is $140m (£98.5m) richer after he sued them for defamation, loss of privacy, and emotional pain.
But Gawker Media isn't done just yet. It plans to challenge the Florida jury's verdict in the appeals court and founder Nick Denton believes "We will be vindicated". Responding to the ruling, which went in favour of Hogan, Denton posted a lengthy rebuttal on the website.
In the statement, he stresses that the whole lawsuit was not about keeping the sex tapes from the public but rather to prevent exposure of the wrestler's racism. "It turns out this case was never about the sex on the tape Gawker received, but about racist language on another, unpublished tape that threatened Hogan's reputation and career," it stated.
According to Denton, publishing the truth would have been "more interesting and more damaging" than the actual sex video. "Hogan filed the claim because he was terrified that one of the other tapes, which memorialized his rant about his daughter dating "f**king n*****s," might emerge. As I have come to learn, Hogan himself put it in a text message to his best friend, the radio shock-jock Bubba Clem, days after we published our story: "We know there's more than one tape out there and a one that has several racist slurs were told. I have a [pay-per-view special] and I am not waiting for anymore surprises...."," the Gawker statement goes on to state.
Denton emphasised that the evidence from the FBI investigation and the testimony of a key witness, which was not permitted in the trial court, will help gain a different verdict in the appeals court.
"We have had our day in trial court, and we lost. We will have our day back in appeals court, and we will be vindicated," he wrote.
In July 2015, Hogan, whose real name is Terry Gene Bollea, was at the centre of a media storm when a transcript of a conversation with Heather Clem in which he used racial slurs, went public. According to the reports, he had told Clem, "I mean, I'd rather if she was going to f**k some n****r, I'd rather have her marry an 8-foot-tall n****r worth a hundred million dollars like a basketball player. I guess we're all a little racist. F*****g n****r." The WWE veteran later posted a statement in which he apologised for the comments made.