The sleazy saga involving the former pro wrestler drove the media empire Gawker to bankruptcy – and dealt free speech a worrying blow
The fight is over, but it is not entirely clear who won: Hulk Hogan has finally settled a sex-tape lawsuit that has been dragging on for years. The former pro wrestler, whose real name is Terry Bollea, had been seeking $110m (£94m) from talkshow hosts at Florida-based Cox Radio, who he accused of leaking a video showing him having sex and using racist language. The case was supposed to go to a jury trial next January but a confidential settlement reached on Thursday means that will now be avoided.
I don’t want to think about Hogan naked any more than you do, so let’s skip over the sordid details of the case. The most important thing about this sleazy saga is the trail of destruction it has left in its wake. Hogan’s sex tape wasn’t just a private legal battle; it morphed into a proxy war between a billionaire and the media. The wrestler’s personal affairs have ended up having serious public ramifications.