Support the news

Billionaires And Free Speech47:03
Download

Play
This article is more than 3 years old.

Billionaire Peter Thiel versus Gawker. We'll look at big money and free speech.

Attorneys Kenneth Turkel and David Houston confer as their client Hulk Hogan, whose real name is Terry Bollea, appears in court, Wednesday, May 25, 2016, in St. Petersburg, Fla. A Florida judge on Wednesday denied Gawker's motion for a new trial in Hogan's sex-video case and won't reduce a $140 million jury verdict. (Scott Keeler/The Tampa Bay Times via AP, Pool)
Attorneys Kenneth Turkel and David Houston confer as their client Hulk Hogan, whose real name is Terry Bollea, appears in court, Wednesday, May 25, 2016, in St. Petersburg, Fla. A Florida judge on Wednesday denied Gawker's motion for a new trial in Hogan's sex-video case and won't reduce a $140 million jury verdict. (Scott Keeler/The Tampa Bay Times via AP, Pool)

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

Guests

Emily Bazelon, senior research scholar at the Yale Law School. Staff writer at the New York Times Magazine and co-host of the Slate Political Gabfest. (@emilybazelon)

Jason Tanz, editor at large for WIRED. (@jasontanz)

Marc Randazza, First Amendment attorney and managing partner of the Randazza Legal Group. (@marcorandazza)

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."

P.S. We’re Launching Our New Site June 9th. See It Now.

This program aired on June 1, 2016.

Related:

+Join the discussion
TwitterfacebookEmail

Support the news