Ex-wrestler Hulk Hogan, whose legal name is Terry Bollea, sued Gawker after it published parts of a sex tape in 2012, a sex tape that Hulk Hogan was in. This tape was originally recorded back in 2006 with Heather Clem, the ex-wife of Bubba the Love Sponge Clem (Todd Clem). Hogan says his privacy was being violated when the video was put online, but Gawker insists that it was legitimate because Hogan was talking openly about his sex life previously, like on Howard Stern’s radio show. Now, Hulk Hogan and Gawker Media are in the middle of a $100 million lawsuit and jury selection is underway.
Hogan is seeking $100 million from Gawker for posting the video of him and Heather. Apparently, Hogan has already settled with shock jock Bubba the Love Sponge, the man who secretly filmed the wrestling icon as he had sex with his wife. Reportedly, they settled for only $5,000. But how did this Hulk Hogan sex tape fall into the hands of Gawker?
Gawker received a DVD of the 30-minute sex tape and made the decision to edit it down to only about a minute and a half, rather than show the entire thing.
In the clip of the sex tape that Gawker released, Clem can be heard telling Hulk Hogan and Heather that they can “do their thing” while he waits in his office. Toward the end of the video, Clem can also be heard saying to Heather, “If we ever need to retire, here is our ticket.”
Jury selection began for the Hulk Hogan v Gawker lawsuit on Tuesday with about 500 potential jurors being summoned. Nearly 100 of those jurors were told to return the following day, at Pinellas County Judicial Building in St. Petersburg, Florida. But it looks like a number of jurors are very standoffish when it comes to this case. The sex tape itself is leaving a lot of them feeling uneasy, reports CNN.
“It goes against my personal beliefs, and my relationship with Jesus Christ,” a female juror told Hulk Hogan’s attorney Kenneth Turkel.
“I think the whole subject matter of the case gives me serious problems,” another juror said.
This whole process seems to be a real messy one, indeed. It seems that the jury-selection process is taking longer than originally anticipated. Jury selection is going to continue on Friday with the trial scheduled to begin on Monday, March 7.
Gawker founder Nick Denton told The Associated Press last June that they will continue to defend their right to freely publish the sex tape online, citing the First Amendment. Denton claims that Gawker had every right to publish the edited video because Hulk Hogan spoke in detail about his sex life before the video was ever leaked, which made the story public as well as newsworthy.
“I care about the readers having the right to know both sides of a story,” Denton said. “Readers should also have the right to get the story behind the celebrity story.”
Gawker recently released a public statement on Thursday morning saying that they are “defending the First Amendment against Hulk Hogan’s effort to create a world where celebrities can promote themselves around any topic, in this case sex, and then veto how the media covers their lives.”
According to Gawker, because several people/outlets had copies of the sex tape, as well as audio and transcripts, what they did isn’t wrong.
Opening statements in the Hulk Hogan v Gawker trial begin next week on Monday and the Court will allow cameras, which should produce very interesting results. This media circus surrounding the scandal may continue to expand come Monday.
[Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images]