A confident Hulk Hogan took to Twitter to tease news site Gawker in the hours before the jury selection began for his $100 million lawsuit against the media outlet, Gawker founder Nick Denton, and Gawker former editor-in-chief A.J. Daulerio. Hogan, whose real name is Terry Bollea, is seeking compensation and damages for his leaked sex tape, portions of which Gawker published on its site.
In the Twitter rant, Hogan adopted his usual WrestleMania bravado, tweeting to Gawker and fans alike that it is “[t]ime for the real main event! ‘I AM’ going to slam another Giant!” The wrestling legend then added “Hogan vrs Gawker,” taunting the celebrity gossip site with his well-known catch phrase from his professional wrestling days, “Watcha Gonna Do Gawker? Only Justice Brother HH.”
Time for the real main event!"I AM" going to slam another Giant! Hogan vrs Gawker! Watcha Gonna Do Gawker? Only Justice Brother HH— Hulk Hogan (@HulkHogan) March 1, 2016
Hulk Hogan was decidedly less upbeat during the court proceedings, wearing all black and topping his head with his trademark bandanna, as he sat in the Pinellas County Judicial Building. Although head coverings are not always allowed in a courtroom, a judge had previously ruled that Hogan could sport the bandanna as long as it was all one color. Hogan also wore a gold cross around his neck.
On Tuesday, March 1, jury selection for Hulk Hogan’s $100 million lawsuit against the website began in the St. Petersburg, Florida, courtroom to a less-than-thrilled group of potential jurors, according to CNN Money. More than 500 prospective jurors showed up for the date, although most tried hard to get out of the trial, which is expected to last around three weeks.
According to CNN, most potential jurors were able to get out of serving on the case, citing the hardship a trial that long would bring. The remaining jurors, who indicated they would be willing to serve, were handed a 12-page questionnaire, which asked them to outline their biographical details. Possible jurors were also asked about their knowledge of both Hulk Hogan and the defendants.
The questionnaire included a particular question that confirmed whether a trial about a sex tape would cause the jury to blush. According to CNN, prospective jurors were told the lawsuit “involves images depicting sex and nudity, and the use of profanity.” They were then required to answer “Would receiving and viewing this type of content affect your ability to serve as a fair and impartial juror in this case?”
Although the question centered around the sexual nature of the video, Hulk Hogan has faced far worse damages from its release than just public humiliation. The sex tape also caught Hogan on camera saying racial epithets and using vulgar language directed towards minorities. Because of the release of the audio, which Hogan admits he said but has since apologized to fans, claiming he made a mistake, the WWE terminated any affiliation with Hulk, and the pro-wrestler lost all his career titles.
Hulk Hogan was also removed from the WWE Hall of Fame after the tape was released. In a statement, WWE confirmed it is “committed to embracing and celebrating individuals from all backgrounds as demonstrated by the diversity of our employees, performers and fans worldwide.”
According to legal experts, however, Hulk Hogan has an uphill battle in court. The sex tape was recorded at the home of Heather Clem, who had web cameras set up around her bedroom. Attorney and Florida State University college professor Stephen MacNamara told CVN that because Hulk Hogan’s sex tape was recorded at Clem’s home, it “undercuts the wrestler’s expectation of privacy.”
Meanwhile, according to the legal expert, because Gawker published only a short clip, the defendant could argue they released the video because it was newsworthy.
What do you think? Should Gawker have published portions of the Hulk Hogan sex tape? Leave a comment below!
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