Gawker is Closing Down After Hulk Hogan Lawsuit
Gawker founder Nick Denton appearing in court. (Image Credit: Pool / Getty Images)
Gawker is officially closing its doors after the site filed for bankruptcy following its legal battles with Hulk Hogan and PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel.
Gawker was on the receiving end of a massive $140 million lawsuit filed by former professional wrestler Hulk Hogan, with them being taken to court as a result of releasing a private sex tape featuring the Hulkster. It was later revealed that billionaire Peter Thiel had funded Hogan’s legal claim, alongside multiple other third-party legal battles against the online media giant, with him having spent as much as $10 million trying to bring the site and its subsidiaries to their knees.
Thiel branded Gawker a “bully” after they had written a piece in 2007 outing him as gay, which he claimed had “ruined multiple people’s lives for no reason.” In an interview with the New York Times discussing his vendetta against Gawker, Thiel said: “The way I’ve thought about this is that Gawker has been a singularly terrible bully. In a way, if I didn’t think Gawker was unique, I wouldn’t have done any of this. If the entire media was more or less like this, this would be like trying to boil the ocean.”
After Gawker Media was forced to file for bankruptcy, it was later revealed that the company had been acquired by Univision, an American Spanish-language broadcast television network. However, for reasons currently unknown Univision has decided to retain Gawker Media’s other properties – sites such as io9, Kotaku, and Deadspin – while shutting Gawker.com down. A statement from Gawker reads: “After nearly fourteen years of operation, Gawker.com will be shutting down next week. The decision to close Gawker comes days after Univision successfully bid $135 million for Gawker Media’s six other websites, and four months after the Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel revealed his clandestine legal campaign against the company.”
It is believed that Gawker’s employees will still remain employed by Univision, with their talents being spread across the other six sites that Gawker Media owned. Regardless of the decision, Gawker’s founder Nick Denton would have been unable to continue running the site as a result of his non-compete agreement with Univision.