Billionaire Peter Thiel versus Gawker. We'll look at big money and free speech.
You know the basics of this case. Hulk Hogan made a sex tape. Gawker Media published it. Hulk sued. A jury awarded him $140 million for invasion of privacy. But last week we also learned that suit was backed – to the tune of maybe $10 million - by Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel. Thiel had a grudge against Gawker. Now Gawker could go out of business, at the hands of an angry billionaire. This hour On Point, big money and free speech – the billionaire versus Gawker. — Tom Ashbrook
From Tom’s Reading List
Fortune: This Silicon Valley Billionaire Has Been Secretly Funding Hulk Hogan's Lawsuits Against Gawker -- "One of Silicon Valley’s best-known investors has been footing a former wrestler’s legal bills in lawsuits against a shared enemy. Peter Thiel, a PayPal cofounder and one of the earliest backers of Facebook has been secretly covering the expenses for Hulk Hogan’s lawsuits against online news organization Gawker Media."
WIRED: Got a Beef With the Media? Pay Someone Else to Sue Them — "Regardless of how you feel about Gawker, Hogan, or Thiel, this financial arrangement sets a dangerous precedent for anyone running a business—especially a media business. Litigation finance is a booming industry, and Thiel’s success likely makes the entire media industry vulnerable to professional litigation financiers willing to fund other vendettas."
CNN: Is Peter Thiel right about Gawker? — "Perhaps passing the collection basket to protect free speech seems, on the surface, more noble than a lone billionaire exacting payback on a media site. But, I won't claim it to be so. Because there is another way to look at this. Is Thiel really a free speech bully out to destroy the media? He has, in the past, also funded the Committee to Protect Journalists. Is that a contradiction? Perhaps, if you look at the world from a lazy, binary, point of view."
This program aired on June 1, 2016.