By Ryan Clark on October 20, 2012
Hulk Hogan’s lawsuit in regard to his sex tape with Heather Clem has been officially filed with the US District Court in Tampa, Florida. The suit lays out why Hogan filed the suit, his position on the situation, Gawker’s position and more.
The lawsuit itself: Hogan is suing Gawker Media and their subsidiaries, Blogwire Hungary (owner of the domain name), owner Nick Denton, writer AJ Daulerio and Kate Bennert, who is listed as the editor of the “highlight reel” of the sex tape used in the article. Hogan claims that the defendants “engaged in intentional, outrageous, irresponsible and despicable conduct” when they posted excerpts of the tape on October 4th. Hogan describes the video as “private consensual sexual relations with a woman in a private bedroom” and says that the defendants posted the tape in order to sell advertising and attract new viewers to the site, with financial benefit in mind. Hogan says he was unaware of the videotape and adds, “To the contrary, the Plaintiff believed that such activity was completely private, and the Plaintiff had a reasonable expectation of his privacy in his intimate activities and reasonably believed that his privacy was safe and protected.” It further notes that taping him was prohibited by Florida law and that releasing the tape violates his right to privacy.
The suit notes that posting the video was an invasion of Hogan’s privacy and calls the defendants “a group of Loathsome Defendants who have no regard for human dignity and care only about maximizing their revenues and profits at the expense of all others.” It adds that Gawker has been repeatedly requested to remove the video but that they have refused, making the lawsuit necessary, and that the video violates Hogan’s “constitutional and common law privacy rights, and exceeds all bounds of human decency.”
The tape’s effects: According to the suit, the tape was filmed six years ago and has brought in “hundreds of millions of people” to Gawker’s website. It notes that it has diminished Hogan’s commercial value and alleges that the defendants will continue to publish the tape unless stopped. It claims that the defendants have misappropriated Hogan’s publicity rights, bringing “intentional infliction of emotional distress” against him. The suit claims that Gawker and the other defendants caused “or was known by the Defendants to likely cause Plaintiff humiliation, mental anguish and severe emotional distress.” It notes that Hogan suffered “injury, damage, loss, harm, anxiety, embarrassment, humiliation, shame and severe emotional distress.”
The damages: The suit claims that Hogan has been damaged in excess of $100 million and adds that Hogan is entitled to all profits from the defendants; it requests that the court force all copies to be handed over to Hogan for destruction.
Gawker: Gawker’s litigation counsel Cameron Stratcher wrote to Hogan’s attorney David Houston on October 9th. She said that the video “depicts Mr. Bollea having sex with a married woman in the woman’s home, under circumstances and in a place where he has no reasonable expectation of privacy (in fact there appears to be a surveillance camera in the bedroom from which the video is made). Finally, the one minute clip shows very little sexual activity and is clearly newsworthy given the public interest in Mr. Bollea’s marriage, divorce and his extra-marital activities.” He adds that the video was not posted for commercial reasons, at least in the way that the law defines commercial purpose, and “is true and is newsworthy.” Stratcher offers to publish any response Hogan might have about the tape and argues that all of Houston’s arguments are legally invalid given the situation. No defendants have yet responded to the lawsuit in court.
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