The timeline of events below are taken from the archives of Wrestling-Online.com and Wrestling-Online Newsletter. All information was accurate at time of the date stamps below.
October 5, 2012
҂ Gawker.com released a one minute video from the Hulk Hogan sex tape after it obtained the tape from an anonymous source, who according to TMZ, gave the footage to the site for free. The full sex tape is 30 minutes long and Gawker calls it a “goddamn masterpiece.” Apparently, Hogan and the mystery woman were initially joined by another man, believed to be Bubba “The Love Sponge” and his voice is heard but he never makes it on camera. “You guys do your thing,” the anonymous man says. “I’ll be in the office if you need me.” The site has a full rundown of the steamy sex that happens afterward. TMZ.COM meanwhile is now reporting that Hogan’s lawyers are writing up a cease-and-desist letter for the website to take down the clip and if Gawker doesn’t take it down, he’s going to run wild all over them. According to the Hulkster, Gawker has no right to post the footage, or anything related to it.
October 09, 2012
҂ While appearing on The Howard Stern show to promote TNA’s upcoming pay-per-view Bound For Glory, Hulk Hogan was obviously asked about the sex tape that is making rounds. The Hulkster admitted that the lady in the video with him is Heather Clem, the now ex-wife of his good friend Bubba “The Love Sponge” and the encounter took place after Bubba himself gave the go ahead. Cool friend. In the one minute video which was released by Gawker, you could hear Bubba “The Love Sponge” talking off camera and his name is then mentioned. Hogan said that the two had sex in 2006 before Bubba married Heather but while he was still married to his then-wife Linda. Howard Stern then pulled a fast one on Hogan playing a clip from last year when Hulk was on his show saying he’d never had sex with Heather Clem. “No. Man law, brother – even if they were divorced for ten years. You don’t do that. You don’t do that,” he said. Hulk said he had to lie to him because he had to protect himself at the time. Hogan swore that he was not in on this and the tape was done without his permission. “I gotta find out who did this to me,” Hogan said, adding that he is going to press charges. Hogan considered this as the worst thing that ever happened to him. Meanwhile, Hulk was also given the news on the show that Radar Online is reporting that there is another Hulk Hogan sex tape out there. You can see Hogan discussing the tape on Stern’s show below.
October 10, 2012
҂ In a surprising twist on the Hulk Hogan sex tape saga, one of Hulk’s best friends, Bubba “The Love Sponge,” has been revealed as the man behind the recording, which was done in 2006. TMZ broke the story that at the end of the tape after Hogan leaves, Bubba is heard telling his then-wife Heather, “If we ever did want to retire, all we’d have to do is use this footage.” Heather then tells Bubba that he’d “never do that,” regarding releasing the tape, at which point Bubba says, “I wouldn’t do that, you’d be the biggest rat, you’d be dead.” Hogan was filmed having sex with Heather Clem – then girlfriend of Bubba – with his blessing, telling them at the start of the tape that he’ll be in the office if they need anything. The two got married but then divorced in 2011. When the Hulkster called into TMZ Live and the folks at TMZ told him about it, Hogan said, “I’m sick to my stomach right now.” Bubba always denied to Hulk having any knowledge about the tape and said he was not aware there was a camera capturing all the X rated footage. Hulk and Bubba have been longtime friends and Bubba also worked for TNA for a brief period thanks to Hulk Hogan. Hulk has been a frequent guest on his show and sports the Bubba Army t-shirt sometimes on television as well.
҂ Hulk Hogan appeared on CNN’s Piers Morgan yesterday to talk about a variety of subjects including the sex tape that has made its way online this week. The Hulkster said in situations like this you pray and hope that people who love you like the wife, the children, and close friends, understand you and support you although he said that sometimes even friends are a problem because you don’t know who they really are. He said you have to be honest and accountable and admitted that it was a horrible choice and any excuse he makes – be it that it was a bad time in his life, friends pushing him to do it, etc – none of it matters. Hogan said that this was the most embarrassing and humiliating thing that ever happened to him and he’s been through a lot, mentioning the steroid scandal, fight with the government, and the ugly divorce. Hulk again says that he had no idea that there was a camera filming the whole thing and when he was asked if he’s closer to find out who betrayed him, Hulk said no, although he did mention that TMZ is doing the work and said that they told him that Bubba “The Love Sponge” appears on camera after he leaves the room and passes some comment. He said he’s been great friends with Bubba and he has to see the film himself to believe it.
October 11, 2012
҂ While Bubba “The Love” Sponge was revealed as the man behind the Hulk Hogan sex tape, the person who actually leaked it to the media wasn’t him, but a disgruntled former employee of Bubba according to RadarOnline.com. The whole thing apparently started when Bubba departed his Sirius XM Radio show and left without paying his staff. The staff knew about the sex tape as he shared it with them and one of them apparently decided it was payback time for Bubba for leaving them without money. “Even though Bubba knew how much the Hulk sex tape would be worth, he didn’t stab his friend in the back and he’s not the one who released it,” RadarOnline’s source said. The website also adds that Hogan knew about the sex tape “for years” and “even had the ability to stop the sale last year.” The same source that Hogan acting all shocked at the release of the tape “is crap.” The source adds that when the tape was made aware to him three years ago, Hogan was blindsided, but he has been aware of it this whole time. “Bubba didn’t secure the tape properly and showed it to a bunch of people,” the source says. “And that’s why they’re all in this mess now.” The same source also says that Hogan’s PR people didn’t act on stopping the sale as they deemed it would give publicity to Hulk.
October 15, 2012
҂ According to TMZ, Florida police shot down the idea of helping Hulk Hogan find out who leaked his sex tape and the former WWE and WCW champion is now ringing the FBI’s doorbell to hunt down the man. TMZ says that Florida cops refused to help because the tape was recorded in 2006 and the four-year statute of limitations had expired on the offense and distributing the illegal footage on the Internet crosses the state lines, making it a federal problem rather than a state issue. Hulk is scheduled to meet FBI officers from the Florida office today. Last week it was revealed that a former employee of Bubba “The Love Sponge” leaked the video as payback for Bubba after he quit Sirius without paying his employees. Bubba was revealed as the man who recorded the footage when he appeared after Hogan left, telling his then-girlfriend that if they want to retire all they have to do is leak the tape. And Hogan was revealed to know about the existence of the tape for the past three years although he still claims he never knew he was being filmed.
҂ Hulk Hogan and his legal and public relations people will hold a press conference today at 5PM in near the federal courthouse in Tampa to announce lawsuits over the sex tape which was filmed without his permission. A press release sent to the media announced that the Hulkster will be filing two lawsuits, one against his now former friend Bubba “The Love Sponge” and his ex wife Heather Cole (formerly Clem) and a New York media group which is Gawker, which released a clip from the sex tape earlier this month and basically wrote a play-by-play of the whole sex tape. TMZ broke the news to Hulk that Bubba was behind the tape and Hogan didn’t believe it at first, saying that he has to watch that part to believe that he was being backstabbed by one of his biggest friends.
October 16, 2012
҂ Standing behind his two attorneys outside the federal courthouse in Tampa, Florida, Hulk Hogan remained silent as one of his lawyers explained to the media that the Hulkster filed two lawsuits in regards to the sex tape that was illegally released online last week. The first lawsuit was filed in the Florida state court against Todd Clem, also known as Bubba “The Love Sponge”, and his ex-wife Heather Clem, now Cole, with the allegations that six years ago, Clem secretly video taped Hulk having consensual sex with Heather. Hulk did not consent to the taping, never permitted it, and did not know that he was taped. The second lawsuit was filed in the United States district court against New York-based Gawker Media, its entities, and individuals for posting part of the video and written details for financial profit at the expense of his client, violating his rights. Hulk Hogan is seeking $100 million in damages from Gawker Media and transfer of all rights for the video as well as removal of all online excerpts. Hogan’s attorney called both allegations illegal, outrageous, and exceeded bounds of human decency.
҂ Speaking on his radio show this morning, Bubba “The Love Sponge,” accused of being the man behind taping Hulk Hogan and his ex-wife having sex, blasted his former friend for suing him, especially after he says Hulk was in on the stunt from the very beginning. Bubba also said that Hulk “brainwashed” him into giving his blessing to have sex with his then-girlfriend. “You can’t play the victim like that. He’s a one-way piece of crap who doesn’t care about anyone but himself,” said Bubba. “You’re the ultimate, lying showman.” The two had been friends for a very long time with Hogan appearing frequently on his radio show as well as Hulk getting him a job with TNA as a backstage interviewer, a gig that didn’t last long after Bubba got fired four months after his debut for personally attacking Awesome Kong on his shows, calling her a “fake bitch,” a “big fake black bitch,” a “dumb bitch” and a “little pussy bitch” after she punched him out backstage much to the enjoyment of everyone else in the TNA locker room.
October 19, 2012
҂ Hulk Hogan’s legal team might have scored an early advantage in their lawsuit against Bubba “The Love Sponge” and his ex-wife Heather Cole as TMZ.COM reported today that they have seen multiple tapes of Heather having sex with multiple men in the same room on the same bed and video taped in the exact same way. TMZ says that three additional sex tapes featuring the busty Heather have surfaced and they were all done while she was married to the DJ. In one video, she walks up to the camera to check that it is indeed recorded and tells a mystery guy, “Is this thing recording? Okay, not that I don’t trust you but I will get in trouble if it doesn’t.” The man was not identified as Bubba “The Love Sponge.” When TMZ reached out to both Bubba and Heather, there was no reply. Just for the record, Wrestling-Online.com also reached out to Heather Cole early last week to see if she would like to discuss her side of the story but she has decided not to reply.
October 23, 2012
҂ The New York Daily News is reporting that Hulk Hogan lost round one in his fight against Gawker.com after a judge denied the former wrestling champ’s request for a temporary restraining order which would have removed his one minute excerpt of his sex tape from the website. “Plaintiff has failed to show that immediate and irreparable injury, loss, or damage will result before Defendants can be heard in opposition,” U.S. District Judge James Whittemore wrote in his ruling. A hearing has been set for November 8 in Tampa, Florida.
October 29, 2012
҂ The Tampa Bay Times is reporting that the lawsuit filed by Hulk Hogan against Bubba “The Love Sponge” over the sex tape release has been settled. Details on the settlement remain unknown however the popular DJ issued a statement to the media with a public apology and retraction to his comments from a few weeks ago. “After further investigation, I am now convinced that Hulk Hogan was unaware of the presence of the recording device in my bedroom. I am convinced he had no knowledge that he was being taped. Additionally, I am certain that he had no role in the release of the video,” Bubba said. During an appearance on the Howard Stern show, Bubba claimed that Hogan knew he was being filmed and blamed him for the release of the tape. “It is my belief that Terry is not involved, and has not ever been involved, in trying to release the video, or exploit it, or otherwise gain from the video’s release in any way.” Bubba continued saying that the things he said about Hulk and his kids were not true and he was deeply sorry for his reaction and additional pain that he caused to his family. “I am committed to helping Hulk and his attorneys find whoever is responsible for the release of the tape and holding them accountable to the fullest extent of the law,” the statement says. Hogan’s lawsuit against Gawker Media is still proceeding as planned.
November 2, 2015
҂ Even though Hulk Hogan settled the lawsuit against his former friend Bubba “The Love Sponge” over the sex tape, Hulk says that the two are not friends anymore. “Just for the record, Bubba and I are NOT friends and never will be friends,” Hogan wrote in a message on Twitter before once again stating that the two are not friends with not written in capital letters. Hogan sued Bubba and his ex-wife Heather Cole over their involvement in the sex tape. The lawsuit against Bubba was settled out of court with the details remaining confidential. Bubba issued a press release eating back all the words he said about Hulk and also mentioned it twice on his radio show.
November 4, 2012
҂ Gawker Media – the company which published one minute of the Hulk Hogan sex tape and a full play-by-play of the whole video at Gawker.com – responded to the Hulk Hogan lawsuit saying that Hogan’s claims that they ruined his reputation is bull because his reputation was already ruined! Attorneys for Gawker said in the response that Hogan admitted that he lied and cheated in his books and admitted he was an adulterer in one of his two books so the video couldn’t have caused any more harm. Gawker also says that the website didn’t record the tape, it just published it and since Hogan is a celebrity it was newsworthy for everyone. The company is also trying to invoke the law that protect news sources so they don’t have to reveal the identity of the individual who leaked them the footage.
January 1, 2013
҂ After dismissing the federal lawsuit against Gawker for the posting of his sex tape, Hulk Hogan refiled the lawsuit against the same company in a Florida state court. TMZ.COM is reporting that Hogan is once again seeking $100 million from Gawker and has refiled the case to consolidate his claims against the NY-based media company and Heather Clem, the person who he had sex with in the tape. Hogan – who already had a lawsuit filed against Clem in Florida – claims that the former wife of Bubba “The Love Sponge” played a part in leaking the sex tape to the media. Gawker posted a one minute video clip of Hulkamania running wild all over Clem a few months ago and then gave a detailed description of the whole video, almost blow by blow. His lawsuit against Bubba was dropped after the two reached an agreement out of court and then Bubba apologized twice to Hogan on his radio show.
April 25, 2013
҂ The Hollywood Reporter is reporting that Hulk Hogan finally scored one – partial – victory in his lawsuit against Gawker over the publishing of his sex tape. A judge at a hearing yesterday in a Florida state court has granted the Hulkster’s request for a temporary restraining order against Gawker, and now the website has to pull the video from the page as well as hand over all versions and copies of the full-length sex tape and all other clips, photos, and transcripts they have in possession. Hogan filed the $100 million lawsuit in October of last year but so far has lost every battle round in court against the website after a previous judge pointed to the First Amendment, saying that Gawker’s publishing of the video was “in conjunction with the news reporting function.” Initially Hogan filed a federal lawsuit but then dropped it to re-file it in state court, with Judge Pamela Campbell of the Sixth Judicial Circuit in Pinellas County, Florida, agreeing with the former WWE and WCW champion. The lawsuit is far from over however at least Hogan’s bare butt will not be online anymore, at least not on Gawker’s website.
April 26, 2013
҂ Despite a court order to take down the Hulk Hogan sex tape and anything else associated with it from Gawker.com, John Cook, the editor at Gawker.com said that they will not take down all of the Hogan sex tape post. “The order to remove the purely editorial work of a Gawker staffer describing what he had seen—no matter how frivolous or dumb or salacious—is plainly unconstitutional,” Cook wrote on the website. “The order to take down the video was mistaken, but it’s a far different thing than barring a reporter from writing true things about what he’d watched.” The report in question is a 1,400-narrative of the video written by a former Gawker editor as well as the 466 comments that users submitted in reply to the post. Cook said that they are appealing the decision, and they have removed the video itself, however, to remove the text “is grossly unconstitutional” and they would not be taking it down. You can read the full transcript of the hearing and Gawker’s side of the story at http://bit.ly/17nbJLN.
May 10, 2013
҂ Hulk Hogan is going all out at trying to remove all traces of his sex tape from the Internet according to TMZ.COM. The article states that Hogan’s attorneys are firing off letters to websites who have posted screenshots or published any part of the footage from the sex tape threatening to take legal action against them. One website which was targeted is TheDirty.com and it seems like that the editors have complied as the entry for their two posts regarding the sex tape have been emptied. It will be interesting to see how Hogan’s team plan to eliminate the tape from the Internet since as you might have guessed, it’s quite a bit difficult to wipe something completely off the web!
January 18, 2014
҂ A Florida’s 2nd District Court of Appeal sided with Gawker and removed the temporary order banning the website from posting the video online according to the Tampa Bay Times. The website posted parts of the video and a pretty good write up of the whole video and Hogan sued the website, initially winning round one back in April 2013 by getting the ban order in place. Gawker wasn’t happy about it and appealed the decision and the court noted that under the First Amendment, there are only narrow circumstances in which someone can be ordered in advance not to publish something. The court also said that because of the publicity the sex tape receive, partly “exacerbated” by Hulk himself, the excerpts on the website and the accompanying report where a matter of a public concern. The sex tape features Hogan and Bubba “The Love” Sponge’s ex-wife Heather Clem and was leaked to the media by Bubba’s team as payback for the radio host.
June 12, 2015
҂ Hulk Hogan might single handily take down the popular Gawker.com website after the trial over the unauthorized airing of his sex tape starts July 6 and the Hulkster is asking for $100 million in damages. Back in 2012, Gawker acquired a tape of Hogan having sex with the wife of his – former – friend Bubba The Love Sponge and posted a minute and a half excerpt of it plus a running commentary of the whole tape in text. Hogan immediately sued, and Gawker tried to throw the case out but the Judge didn’t want to have any of it. The New York Times is featuring a story about the case and the owner of Gawker told the NYT that they “don’t keep $100 million in the bank.” The lawsuit, if Hogan wins, could either force the owner Nick Denton to sell the website or else seek outside capital investment. The site has a total of 260 full-time employees. You can read the New York Times article at http://nyti.ms/1FPOtG1.
June 17, 2015
҂ The Hollywood reporter is covering the Hulk Hogan sex tape lawsuit against Gawker which is set to hit trial next month, with Hogan seeking damages of $100 million. THR writes that Hollywood attorneys are monitoring the situation closing as this lawsuit and trial could possibly set a new legal precedent for media outlets that publish celebrities’ private moments. It also adds that the two week trial is expected to be Rated R with Gawker seeking to introduce evidence that the WWE Hall of Famer has “injected his sexual prowess into the public sphere by fondling women’s breasts for a Rocky III publicity photo shoot and discussing in interviews where on a woman he likes to ejaculate, the size of his genitalia and the use of his mustache when performing oral sex.” The faith of Gawker will be in the hands of jurors and the site’s owner, Nick Denton, estimates that there’s a 1-in-10 chance that Gawker faces a disaster if everything goes against it. The full story is at http://bit.ly/1dKzF3M.
July 24, 2015
҂ The relationship between Hulk Hogan and WWE seemed to have taken a nose dive as rumors are that WWE is cutting all ties with the Hulkster and has already removed him from the lineup of judges from the Tough Enough website. Hogan was also removed from the Hall of Fame website, with the only people under the “H” name being Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Harley Race, High Chief Peter Maivia, and Howard Finkel. A WWEShop.com search for his name returns zero results with WWE pulling all merchandise. “In the storm I release control, God and his Universe will sail me where he wants me to be, one love,” wrote Hogan on Twitter. It’s still unclear why Hogan is being completely removed and receiving the Chris Benoit treatment. There is a video floating around on YouTube where Hogan says the “N” word but it was him describing the promo that Harlem Heat cut on him while on WCW where Booker T called Hogan the “N” word live by mistake. There is a rumor that the National Enquirer has the audio of Hogan going on a racist rant and that it’s being released shortly. Whatever it is, the situation is serious enough for WWE to break ties with one of the most popular wrestling legends in the history of the business. We will have more updates throughout the day regarding this breaking news.
҂ The National Enquirer, along with RadarOnline.com, has revealed that they have the transcript of a video of Hulk Hogan going on a racial attack which is why WWE has severed ties with the wrestling legend. The video is part of the sex tape with Heather Clem, a video which Hogan is suing Gawker.com for posting certain parts of it online. In the video, Hogan reveals to Clem that his daughter Brooke was sleeping with a black man. “She is making some real bad decisions now,” Hulk says in the video. “My daughter Brooke jumped sides on me. I spent $2-3 million on her music career, I’ve done everything like a jackass for her.” Hogan said that a “black millionaire guy” offered to fund her music career and he didn’t know for sure if Brooke “was f**king the black guy’s son.” Hogan then boasted that he doesn’t have double standards and he’s a racist to a point. The Hulkster then says “F**king n*ggers.” The racist attacks then go up a notch. “I mean, I’d rather if she was going to f*ck some n*gger, I’d rather have her marry an 8-foot-tall n*gger worth a hundred million dollars! Like a basketball player! I guess we’re all a little racist. Fucking n*gger,” the Hall of Famer allegedly says. The Enquirer said that the transcript of the video has been filed in a Florida court under seal in a bid to prevent them from being publicly released. However an extensive probe into the case by multiple independent sources provided the Enquirer contents of the tape.
҂ Earlier today, WWE issued a statement on Hulk Hogan who is no longer part of the company. “WWE terminated its contract with Terry Bollea (aka Hulk Hogan). WWE is committed to embracing and celebrating individuals from all backgrounds as demonstrated by the diversity of our employees, performers and fans worldwide,” the statement read. Hulk Hogan has been removed from WWE.COM searches, WWEShop.com merchandise, and even the WWE Hall of Fame website where his profile is no longer accessible. He is still available on the WWE Network if you search for him. In comments given to TMZ.COM, his attorney said that Hogan wasn’t fired from WWE but he resigned late Thursday evening after word got out that the Enquirer was going to drop the bomb on Friday morning.
҂ Hulk Hogan’s fourth run in the WWE came to a halt today as WWE disassociated itself from Hogan one and a half years after he made his long awaited return in the beginning of 2014. Hogan was brought back to the company in February 2014 after a six year absence and was made host of WrestleMania XXX. Hogan opened WrestleMania XXX but soon crashed and burned by referring to the Superdome as the Silverdome a few minutes into his promo. He eventually corrected himself and then Steve Austin and The Rock made the save and poked fun at him for the mistake. Hogan made sporadic appearances on WWE television throughout the year and served as an ambassador for WWE during high profile events. In 2015 he inducted Macho Man Randy Savage into the WWE Hall of Fame and the next night at WrestleMania he reunited the nWo with Scott Hall and Kevin Nash and came to Sting’s rescue as he was being attacked by D-Generation X in one of WrestleMania 31’s most memorable moments. In June he was announced as one of the judges on the all-new Tough Enough, joining Paige and Daniel Bryan on the judges table. Throughout the year he was telling media that he was hoping for one more match at WrestleMania 32 in front of a possible record-breaking crowd, a match which is now certainly not going to happen.
҂ Hulk Hogan has apologized for his racist remarks in an exclusive to PEOPLE Magazine and said that he will use this situation to improve as a person. “Eight years ago I used offensive language during a conversation. It was unacceptable for me to have used that offensive language; there is no excuse for it; and I apologize for having done it,” Hogan said in a statement. “This is not who I am. I believe very strongly that every person in the world is important and should not be treated differently based on race, gender, orientation, religious beliefs or otherwise. I am disappointed with myself that I used language that is offensive and inconsistent with my own beliefs.” His attorney once again said that he resigned from WWE because he didn’t want the company and family go through this mess despite WWE’s statement that his contract was terminated.
҂ Booker T shared his opinions on the dismissal of Hulk Hogan and said that he was shocked by what Hogan has said. The history between Booker, Hogan, and the n-word dates back to nearly two decades ago when Booker, part of the Harlem Heat, told Hulk that, “we’re coming for you n*gger” during a live broadcast. As soon as Booker said the word he immediately realized his mistake and turned around as fellow Hall of Famer Sherri Martel gave him the look! Mean Gene Okerlund carried on with the interview with his brother Stevie Ray. “20 years ago I made a huge mistake by saying something I shouldn’t have on national TV. It’s 2015 and the n-word should be eradicated from the English language in my opinion,” Booker wrote on Twitter. “I am shocked by the statements made by Hulk Hogan. It’s unfortunate, but that’s something that he’s going to have to deal with.”
҂ The news of Hogan’s racist rant and WWE’s decision to disassociate itself from him made it to the mainstream media as Hulk’s day from hell continued to get worse by the second. CNN, ESPN, Fox News, TMZ, ABC News, CBS News, The Associated Press, New York Post, Sports Illustrated, TIME, Washington Post, Rolling Stone, US Magazine, CNBC, Wall Street Journal, BBC, and many other International news organizations all covered Hogan’s news. Meanwhile, Gawker.com also decided to join in on the party as their legal battle with the Hulkster continues. Hogan sued Gawker for $100 million for posting parts of his sex tape online. Gawker said that they have no idea how the Enquirer got their hands on the transcript as they are under seal in Pinellas County, Florida. The website is risking shutting down or facing the possibility of being sold if they are on the losing end of this lawsuit due to the fact that they don’t have $100 million to spread around.
҂ Hulk Hogan is not the only one effected in this latest story. His daughter Brooke, who was originally the subject of all this, gave her own take on the story. “You want my comment, media sharks? Here it is,” Brooke tweeted, along with a link that goes to her Facebook page. The link goes to a photo post, a collage of photos of Hulk with his fans and a photo of the two together when she was young. Accompanying the photo is a poem, titled If You Knew My Father, written by Brooke. “If you knew the dad I knew, you’d know his tender heart. He’d never want to hurt his fans, or family from the start. If you knew my father, you would know how hard he fought… and the way it brought a smile to people light, medium and dark,” the poem starts. It goes on explaining how her father is not perfect but he raised her well and if anyone walked in his shoes you’d find out that he’s always under the microscope. It’s a wonderful poem which also says that her father is hurting and it makes her sad to see him so defeated and tired. You can read it at http://on.fb.me/1VFlFu3.
҂ In a post on Twitter, former champion Mark Henry said that he was being “hounded” by media today to share his thoughts and experiences with Hulk Hogan. He said he preferred not to be dragged into it but feels the responsibility to at least make some sort of a statement. Henry said that there was history of racial slurs and prejudices in the WWE and he will not speak on what had happened in the past but he wants to let everybody know that he does not condone any racist behavior or speech in any manner. “I’m disappointed in the comments made by Terry Bollea (Hulk Hogan). I’ve known Terry a long time as both a work colleague and as someone I consider a friend,” Henry wrote. “I’m hurt and offended that he expressed his feelings in the matter and tone that was presented on the tape.” Henry applauded WWE for taking “swift action in response to his comments” and said he supports the position the company took in this matter.
҂ Dennis Rodman, the former NBA player who turned nWo and wrestled with Hulk in WCW, leaped to the Hulkster’s defense following the tidal wave of bad news that hit Hogan hard today. “I’ve known @HulkHogan for 25 years. Here he is hanging with Kylin in NJ. There isn’t a racist bone in that mans body,” Rodman tweeted along with a video. Rodman wrestled with Hulk in 1997 taking on Lex Luger and The Giant at the Bash at the Beach event and the following year he teamed up with Hogan again to take on DDP and Karl Malone. In 2008 he joined Hogan’s Celebrity Championship Wrestling reality show and eventually won the series. Rodman then tweeted to fellow former NBA players Scottie Pippen, Magic Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal, and boxing legend Mike Tyson to show their support to Hulk.
July 25, 2015
҂ In a blog posted on July 10, Gawker CEO Nick Denton wrote how the trial against Hulk Hogan was already supposed to start but the company’s lawyers were pursuing a lead about a suspicious audio track. The start of the court case was delayed and now we know why. “There will be a third act which we believe will center on the real story: the additional recordings held by the FBI, the information in them that is Hulk Hogan’s real secret, and irregularities in the recordings which indicate some sort of cover-up. In the way of so many news stories, the deeper you go, the more interesting it gets,” Denton wrote. The FBI were in possession of materials related to its probe of Hogan’s sex tape. After initially refusing to hand over the material, Gawker filed a lawsuit against the FBI under the Freedom of Information Act. Hogan’s attorneys wrote a letter to the judge raising concerns that Gawker might already know the contents of the materials which were designated by the FBI as “Highly Confidential – Attorneys’ Eyes Only.” In early July, the Justice Department attorney told the court that there is some “re-processed video footage” which is being sent even though one of the DVDs was corrupted and another one had audio synchronization problems. Hogan’s attorney has told the media that if they find out that it was indeed Gawker who leaked the information to the Enquirer, they will “bury” the company once and for all. The information was most likely going to come out anyway during the case but not till October when the first celebrity sex tape trial is scheduled to start.
҂ WWE 2K16, the upcoming WWE video game has just lost one of its biggest stars. As expected, Hulk Hogan will not be involved in the game and WWE asked 2K to yank him out. “We are highly respectful of the way that our partners choose to run their business and manage our partnerships accordingly. We can confirm that Hulk Hogan will not appear in WWE 2K16,” 2K said in a short statement. WWE has informed all those who have licenses to create WWE apparel and other merchandise that Hulk Hogan should not be part of any future plans as long as there’s a WWE logo on the same merchandise.
҂ The Hogan’s Beach restaurant which is part of the Best Western Bay Harbor hotel in Tampa, Florida, is still open for business bearing Hogan’s name. In comments given to RadarOnline.com, Hogan’s Beach manager said, “The restaurant has nothing to do with the comments made by Hulk Hogan. We are open for business, and we welcome and serve everyone.” Last year the restaurant came under heavy criticism after the dress code was posted on a board outside. The dress code stated, “No Excessively Baggy Attire. No Low hanging pants or shorts. No hats, caps, or visors worn sideways. No Do-Rags, Skull Caps or Bandanas. No Oversized or Excessive Jewelry.” Many commented at the time that all the stuff listed are usually associated with the black community and after a public outrage the restaurant management took down the notice. Up until this point everyone thought that Hogan was just licensing his name to the restaurant but RadarOnline got their hands on the Florida Secretary of State documents that clearly show that Hogan is actually the owner. The restaurant is registered under Hogan’s Beach LLC with Hogan’s home address in Clearwater Beach, Florida, as the registered address. Hogan, under his real name Terry Bollea, is listed as the current registered agent. The document was filed on February 11, 2015.
҂ Curtis Axel’s gimmick of impersonating Hulk Hogan has been axed and the son of WWE Hall of Famer Mr. Perfect is back to his original character following the Hogan racist saga that has captivated the Internet since news broke in the early hours of Friday. WWE has already removed Axel’s photo dressed as Hogan from his bio on WWE.COM and has changed it with a regular photo. His Twitter account, which had a large red and yellow #AxelMania as the header image and a profile picture of himself dressed as Hogan were gone. He replaced his photo with one of himself holding the Intercontinental title. Axel, along with Damien Sandow, wrestled in a tag team match yesterday at the Bakersfield non-televised live event and came out to new ring gear.
July 26, 2015
҂ Hulk Hogan used Twitter to thank those who are standing by him during this storm that saw him being erased from WWE and losing a ton of money over racist remarks from 2012 that made their way online just now. “Thank you to all my friends, family and business partners for all your love and support, you guys know who I really am and I love u 4 that,” Hulk tweeted. A lot of black people were showing their support for Hogan by posting their photos with him, photos that Hogan was retweeting. Mick Foley also chimed in saying his heart truly hurts for Hulk as he firmly believes he is a good person who made a mistake. Virgil, who’s slowly becoming an Internet legend like the Iron Sheik, supported Hogan saying, “That man has done more for me than almost anybody,” and in his recent Reddit AMA, Virgil also put over Hogan. One person who does not like Hogan and is having fun on Twitter blasting him is Scott Steiner, who first posted an image of the definition of karma writing, “Now does everybody believe me that Hogan is a piece of sh*t.” He then suggested that Hulk and Donald Sterling should play Russian roulette with all the bullets in the chambers. He says that between the jail house tapes and the racist rant, everybody is seeing the “real Hogan.”
҂ James Harris, better known to wrestling fans as Kamala, is the latest former wrestler to defend Hulk Hogan over the racist rants which were recorded several years ago. Harris feuded with Hogan both in the then WWF and over at WCW. “That’s not the Hogan I know. Hogan always treated me like a gentleman,” he told The Bleacher Report. “He genuinely cared about me. He was my friend. He’d tell me, ‘Brother, I’m getting my money. I hope you’re getting yours, because you’re putting asses in the seats.’” Calling Hulk a “sweetheart of a guy,” Harris said that Hogan probably didn’t mean the words he said and that he’s not mad at him. “Deep down, he’s really not like that. He’s a super-nice guy. I don’t believe he’s a racist at all, no matter what he said,” Harris added. Asked what he’d do if he met Hogan now, Harris said that he’d shake his hand and hug him like they always did in the past. “Then I might say, ‘Hey man, what happened?’ But it’d be with a smiling face.”
July 27, 2015
҂ In another Hulk Hogan story, the former champion has been looking like a fool on Twitter as fans, mainly in the United Kingdom, are trolling the Hulkster and tricking him to retweet photos that are actually celebrities or sports stars across the pond. Fans have been sending photos of black footballers Rio Fedinand, Kolo Toure, Danny Welbeck, and others, including one photo featuring Drake. They all say “me and my dad” or “me and my mate” support him during these rough times. Hogan, who fell for something like this multiple times before retweeting photos of child molesters or kidnapped individuals, have been on a retweet mission to try and soften the blow he received this past weekend. The problem is that Hogan is looking more of an idiot retweeting these pictures rather than getting sympathy.
҂ The Enquirer and Radar Online have released some more of the transcript from Hulk Hogan’s sex tape which were supposed to be sealed in court pending the trial against Gawker which starts in October. In one of the rants, Hogan told Heather Clam that the “billionaire black guy” that was paying for Brooke’s music recruited Hollywood actor and singer Jamie Foxx to be featured in one of her tracks. “F**king n***er…he had Jamie Foxx coming in on the 22nd track,” Hogan says according to the transcript. “I didn’t even tell Brooke about it. F**k her. Brooke and [redacted] met in Miami.” Hogan then continues to slam his daughter for not taking his advice and money. “Brooke f**ks up a ten million dollar deal I had with the Saudis. Brooke says ‘F**k you dad,’” although he then admitted that she didn’t actually say that but flipped the middle finger at him. “I have this huge f**king house in Miami. My family never comes home. They want to LA. F**k ‘em,” he then says.
҂ CNN Newsroom, hosted by Brooke Baldwin, covered the Hulk Hogan saga today with a segment that lasted around 5 minutes. First CNN ran a video report saying Hogan got a smackdown from WWE and recapped the whole story of the legal battle with Gawker. They then showed the apology that Hogan gave to PEOPLE Magazine last week. Baldwin then introduced Dave Meltzer, the editor of the Wrestling Observer, to the show who was joining live from his home in San Jose, California. Meltzer said that Hulk Hogan is pretty much the most recognizable name in professional wrestling of this generation and has been a major party of the industry for the past 35 years and in some ways he’s bigger than the industry itself. When asked how the reaction has been from fans and celebrities, Meltzer said it’s a mix with negative comments from those who were hurt and those celebrities who will always support him. Meltzer said that Hogan has been in big trouble throughout his life and always came back although this will prove to be his toughest test ever. Meltzer added that it’s a huge deal both for Hogan and WWE and Hogan now loses the ability to film commercials and endorse products since no one wants to be associated with him. The fact that he admitted that he’s racist will be tough to come back from. Before ending the segment, Baldwin asked Meltzer who is the biggest name in pro wrestling now. Meltzer said that overall, The Rock is, however when it comes to full time wrestling, John Cena is the king.
July 28, 2015
҂ Following yesterday’s release by the Enquirer of more racial slurs towards black people by Hulk Hogan, the tabloid publication along with Radar Online released fresh new transcripts today which now includes homophobic comments. “VH1 wanted me to do a big thing and go back to the house I grew up in,” Hulk says, discussing the season four finale of his show Hogan Knows Best. “So we knock on the door,” he continues, “and a big f*g lives there now!” Hogan, who was discussing this with Heather Clem, the former wife of Bubba “The Love Sponge”, added, “This half-gay was enamored with Linda.” The video then continues with Bubba entering the picture. Hogan tells him, “Dude, the only thing I will ever ask of you… I don’t know how you will pull this off… is, if I am ever on my death bed, you cannot let Linda come and visit me.” Hogan was still married to Linda when this tape was recorded and then Hogan brought up the $4.25 million residence in Las Vegas which he said Linda will make him sell it if he gets divorced. The former WWE and WCW champion claimed that Cecile Barker, the “black billionaire” owner of SoBe Entertainment would buy the property and give it back to him after the divorce.
July 29, 2015
҂ Hulk Hogan has filed new court documents pertaining to his sex tape lawsuit against Gawker asking the judge to launch a full investigation into Gawker head Nick Denton and former Gawker executive AJ Daulerio to prove that they were the ones who leaked the confidential transcripts to The National Enquirer, leading to his dismissal from WWE. In the newly filed documents in a Pinellas County court, Hogan asks that if the investigation turns out to be that Gawker was indeed behind the leak, he wants everyone involved to be jailed and wants an automatic win to his $100 million lawsuit according to TMZ. Hogan is claiming that Gawker leaked the story to the media to make him look bad and damage his reputation before the case starts in October as Gawker’s Denton already claimed that if they lose this lawsuit it could be the very end of his company. Gawker’s President and general counsel Heather Dietrick denied the accusations saying Hogan is the only one to blame for what he said. She said that no one from Gawker had any role in leaking the information.
July 30, 2015
҂ During the earnings conference call earlier today, one of the callers asked Vince McMahon about Hulk Hogan, who last week was fired from WWE for racial rants which were shot on a sex tape video eight years ago but released just now by The National Enquirer. The caller did not mention Hogan by name but went the diplomatic way saying that there was a lot of noise in the media about severing ties with this long-term legendary marketing talent. “I mean there was a recent situation with Hulk Hogan who’s no longer with the organization and that doesn’t have any material effect,” McMahon said. “So again we were keen on individuals who can actually compete in the ring and derive benefit from that.” While Hogan got the Chris Benoit treatment on the WWE.COM website, searching for his name on the WWE Network still returns all the results, unlike for Benoit, which returns just one result.
҂ Bad news keeps piling up on Hulk Hogan as Bay News 9 in Florida went back to listen to the 2008 jail audio conversations that Hogan had with his son Nick and released transcripts of calls that were never released to the public before. Nick was serving an eight month sentence for a car crash that left his friend John Graziano, permanently disabled. “You and me been sitting on some serious phone, phone dialogue here ni**a,” Hogan said. His son does not say the N word himself and refers to it as “nibbah” instead. His father then corrects him. “Ni**a, ni**a, that means, that means you (are) my best friend,” Hogan says. Hogan then goes into a weird rant about reincarnation saying that both of them are going to live forever. “I just hope we don’t come back as a couple, I don’t want to say it, blizz-ack gizz-uys, you know what I’m saying?” Nick laughed with his father before responding, “Brutal!” When Hulk told Nick about maybe being transferred to a juvenile hall instead of an adult jail, Nick told him that “it’s mixed-race and we get along with everybody, so that’s fine.” Hulk then said, “Your mom went there and said it was mainly blizz, you know what I’m sizz-aying? And that some of the ladies there that, you know, run the school are nice blizz lizz-adies, you know?” Meanwhile, the judge presiding over Hogan’s lawsuit against Gawker has set a March 7, 2016 date for the trial to start, pushing it again from October. Hogan also pushed a motion seeking more time to determine who leaked the transcripts to the National Enquirer, a motion that the judge has not ruled on yet.
July 31, 2015
҂ In his first public comments to the media following Hulk Hogan’s fall from grace, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson said that he was pretty disappointed with what happened. Talking to TV critics to discuss the HBO show Ballers, Johnson said, “I’ve known Hulk a lot of years. My uncle helped train him. I’ve not known the man to be racist.” However the former WWE champion, who wrestled Hogan at WrestleMania 18 in one of the most memorable WrestleMania moments in its 31 year history, didn’t hide his disappointment. “I was pretty disappointed with what I heard… Not justifying what he said, we’ve all talked trash – in private.”
҂ Hulk Hogan’s attorneys told a Florida judge that their client’s wrestling career “is done” and the judge is Hogan’s last chance of justice according to The Tampa Bay Times. During the emergency hearing, Hogan’s team asked the judge for time to prove that Gawker were directly involved with this leak to damage Hogan’s reputation and to strengthen their case, preventing Hogan from having a fair trial which is set to start on March 2016. Gawkers’ attorney have refused the allegations saying that the company had nothing to do with the leak and there were a long list of names who knew about the contents of the tape and Hogan’s use of racist language way before Gawker learned about it. “This is the last refuge of a desperate litigant,” said Gawker attorney Seth Berlin. Hogan appeared in court wearing an all black jacket, trousers and shirt, a bandana and sunglasses, along with a silver watch and a cross pendant on his chest.
August 5, 2015
҂ In an interview with ETOnline.com, Brooke Hogan, the daughter of Hulk Hogan, defended her father saying she loves him and she knows who he is and that why she is staying by his side. Brooke said that the sex tape with Heather Clem was filmed at “the lowest point in his life,” and that’s what drove him to say what he said. Reaffirming that her dad is not a racist, she said that when you’re mad you choose “ill-fitting words.” Brooke added that Hulk did not want to disappoint his fans and wrestling is his life. “Being scrubbed from the WWE, it was really like turning the knife. And he understands, he takes responsibility for it. He’s like, ‘I messed up, like, this is the repercussions of what’s happening,’” Brooke said. You can read the full interview at http://et.tv/1g9UneG.
August 29, 2015
҂ When TMZ.COM paparazzi caught up with the Hulkster in New York this week and asked about any hard feelings towards WWE, Hogan had nothing but praise for the company helped build. “Brother, WWE is the best. No doubt. I love those guys. That’s my family,” Hogan said. Hogan’s fall from WWE came in June when audio recordings from his sex tape were released, revealing a lot of racist remarks. WWE cut him off completely, booting him from a judge on Tough Enough and wiping him from the WWE.COM website and removing him from any video montages. But despite all this, Hogan is cool with Vince McMahon. “The only hard feelings I’m gonna have with Vince McMahon is when I get him in the ring again,” Hogan said. The WWE Hall of Famer also joked that he would love to be the running mate of Donald Trump and thinks the United States is ready for Vice President Hogan. Apparently a lot of people thought he was serious and Hogan had to clear the air on Twitter. “Yo haters I was just joking about the VP thing, PLEASE!!!!” he wrote.
August 31, 2015
҂ In an interview that appeared on Good Morning America on ABC earlier today, an emotional Hulk Hogan begged for forgiveness after audio from his sex tape was released which included a bunch of racist slurs. Hogan explained how at the time he was upset over something that happened between his daughter and her then-boyfriend and when the tape was recorded – without his approval – he was at a point where he wanted to kill himself. “I was completely broken and destroyed and said, ‘What’s the easiest way out of this?’ I mean, I was lost,” Hogan said, admitting that he was also suicidal. Back in 2009, Hogan credited Laila Ali for saving his life, calling him on the phone just in time as he held a revolver. Ali called to check on him after she saw him depressed on the set of American Gladiators. When ABC News’ Amy Robach asked him if he was a racist, Hogan replied, “I’m not a racist but I never should have said what I said. It was wrong. I’m embarrassed by it.” Hogan blamed his past environment for constantly using the n-word. “People need to realize that you inherit things from your environment. And where I grew up was south Tampa, Port Tampa, and it was a really rough neighborhood, very low income. And all my friends, we greeted each other saying that word.” Asked whether it was fair to say that he inherited a racial bias, Hogan agreed that he did. “I would say that is very fair. The … the environment I grew up in in south Tampa and all my white friends, all my black friends, to hear the word on a daily basis when they’d greet me in the morning, that’s what they’d say to me, ‘Good morning,’ so-and-so,” he said. “I think that was part of the culture and the environment I grew up in and I think that’s fair to say.” Hogan then asked for his fans’ forgiveness. “Oh, my gosh. Please forgive me. Please forgive me. I think if you look at the whole picture of who Hulk Hogan is, you can see over all the years that there’s not a racist bone in my body.” The former WWE and WCW champion said that he was shocked when he was done from the WWE a few months ago following the scandal and it was devastating for him. “I’ve worked for the WWE for almost 30 years off and on…and then all of a sudden, everything I’ve done my whole career and my whole life was like it never happened,” Hogan said, referring to WWE completely wiping him off from their properties. “You know, just because a person makes a mistake, just don’t throw them away. You don’t throw good people away … I refuse to believe that one thing that I did, which is not who I am, is the beginning of my demise,” he said. “I think it’s going to open up a lot of eyes and I’m accountable. I did it. I if I did something, I’ll tell you, I did it.”
September 16, 2015
҂ Hulk Hogan is the latest subject of Sports Illustrated’s Extra Mustard blog, with an interview that covers everything that happened to Hogan ever since those audio recordings were released by the National Enquirer, ending his wrestling career perhaps once and for all. Hogan explained how he never talked with Vince McMahon after the controversy erupted and it was Triple H who gave him the bad news. Hogan called Triple H as soon as he was aware that something was going to be released and Triple H called Vince and called Hogan back within the hour. “He called me back a half hour later and he goes, ‘I’ve got some news and it isn’t good. Vince said that you need to resign.’ I never heard from Vince or talked to Vince. In the middle of the night, they just fired me,” Hogan said. “They had to do what was best for business,” he added. “Triple H was telling me the USA Network was reacting very badly, and they had to make a quick decision, and that was to put me out to pasture. They were under heavy fire and they were scrambling.” Despite getting fired, Hogan holds no ill feelings towards the company, Vince, or Triple H even though he requested a meeting and was declined. He said he’d love to sit down and talk with Vince and said everyone makes mistakes and we are all judged by our weakest moment. “If I had a chance to work with Vince and help people, we could help fix a lot of things together.” Hogan said that he doesn’t think WWE made the right choice in this case and believes that they should have chosen the rehabilitation and education route instead. He noted how WWE helps those who are addicts and they pay for their rehab. “So what’s so uncommon about this was they took the symptoms, said, ‘Oh my god, there’s a symptom of being a racist,’ and threw me away. They usually go to the source. They’ve known me for over 30 years and they know I’m not a racist, so they should have went to the source,” Hogan said. The Hulkster knows he’s not a racist even though he admits saying those words during one of the lowest points in his life and he’s accountable for them. He mentioned that even Bret Hart, who said he’s glad something like this happened to Hulk, said that he’s never known Hulk to be a racist. Asked if he would be willing to go work for some other wrestling company, Hogan shot down the idea. “The only place for me to be would be the WWE,” said Hogan. “That’s where my home is. I thought I’d go step-by-step, crawling uphill with WWE, to explain how wrong I was, but that opportunity wasn’t there.”
September 25, 2015
҂ The Associated Press is reporting that a group of media outlets is asking a Florida judge to make records in the Hulk Hogan sex video case public, something which would be worst case scenario for Hogan. The AP is one of the companies requesting these records. The judge presiding the case has sealed all records which were part of an investigation carried out by the FBI. The audio tape released in June which had several racist rants from Hogan was supposed to be sealed however someone leaked it to The National Enquirer which resulted in Hogan losing his WWE job and his career wiped from the WWE. Hogan has since been on damage control. “It’s highly unusual for this much secrecy to surround a civil proceeding,” said Charles Tobin, a lawyer for Holland and Knight who is representing the media companies. “Ordinarily, whether it’s a celebrity or an average citizen, once you ask the court to help solve a dispute you open the proceedings up to public review. What’s going on in Hulk Hogan’s case certainly is not the norm when it comes to public transparency of the courts.” The trial is scheduled for March 2016 in Pinellas County Court in St. Petersburg, Florida.
September 26, 2015
҂ Hulk Hogan’s court records will remain sealed after a Florida judge today rejected the motion brought forward by a group of media outlets to make them public. The Associated Press and a group of other media companies filed a motion yesterday requesting all records in the current Hulk Hogan sex tape lawsuit become public. One of the tapes sealed was leaked to The National Enquirer who outed Hulk Hogan as a racist after publishing a tape of Hogan saying a lot of racial remarks when he was being secretly taped having sex with Heather Clem, the ex-wife of one of his biggest friends Bubba “The Love Sponge.” The attorney representing the media companies said in a statement that it’s highly unusual for this much secrecy to surround a civil proceeding. After suffering several setbacks, Hogan finally won a round in court. He’s suing Gawker for $100 million for the leaked sex tape and the case will go to trial in the first quarter of 2016.
September 29, 2015
҂ The Associated Press is now reporting that the decision the judge took in the motion to unseal the Hulk Hogan case documents last week was not actually a decision of the motion they filed a couple of days before with other media companies, but rather for a request the media did earlier in the Summer. The AP issued a correction to their original story saying a hearing by Judge Pamela A. Campbell is scheduled for this Thursday that will tackle this new motion. Currently the FBI records into the investigation including the video can only be seen by the attorneys for Hulk Hogan and Gawker.
October 1, 2015
҂ A hearing in the Hulk Hogan sex tape lawsuit against Gawker was held today in Pinellas County Court in St Petersburg, Florida presided by Judge Pamela Campbell. Much of the hearing centered around if the tape, which was filmed without Hogan’s permission, should be released to the public or remain sealed as well as the findings of the FBI investigation which are also sealed. The judge ruled that the tape should remain sealed and not released to the public and is accessible only to the attorneys of both sides. Hogan showed up in court dressed up in all black and was smiling and checking his phone throughout the proceeding that started at 9AM. Another hearing is now set for October 28. You can see a video report on this story CBS 10 News below.
October 22, 2015
҂ Florida Circuit Judge Pamela Campbell sided with Hulk Hogan’s team yesterday after she ruled that Hogan’s attorneys can investigate its claims that Gawker employees were the ones who leaked the racist-filled tape to the National Enquirer. Gawker, which completely denies these allegations, were the only ones who were going to capitalize on this leak as Hogan claimed that the leak was done on purpose to damage his chances in his trial against them. Gawker will be appealing the decision. Hulk is suing Gawker for releasing parts of the sex tape years ago for $100 million. Hogan’s team can now do a forensic inspection of certain Gawker employees’ computers, servers, e-mails, and text messages according to the Tampa Bay Times which continues to cover the lawsuit in court. “The limited discovery is being permitted for the sole purpose of determining whether or not this serious allegation is true,” Campbell wrote, adding that specific terms such as “racist, “Hulk Hogan,” and “DVD details” can be searched. The court-appointed expert will be the ones doing this inspection with all the expenses being carried by Hulk Hogan.
November 17, 2015
҂ The FOX affiliate in Tampa, Florida, is reporting that Matt “Spiceboy” Loyd, a former employee of Bubba “The Love Sponge” is being investigated as the possible person who leaked the Hulk Hogan sex tape to the media. The police report states that Loyd stole several sex tape DVDs from Bubba’s office and distributed clips to sell the tapes, including selling one to TMZ. Apart from that, he also contacted a “sex tape broker” by the name of Keith Davidson “to engage in the extortion of Terry Bollea.” A middleman was allegedly hired by Loyd to do the dirty work for him so his name does not show up anywhere. He reportedly paid $10,000 to his wife’s best friend for her involvement. The same person, Lori Burbidge, told detectives she was told to meet with the broker and complete a deal with Hogan and his attorney. Burbridge, who is apparently throwing Loyd under the bus, told police that he also leaked pictures of the Hogan sex tape to TheDirty.com apart from TMZ and was paid $8,500 in return. The money was deposited in her bank account so Loyd remains anonymous and later she handed “Spiceboy” a cashier’s check for $8,000.
November 21, 2015
҂ The Tampa Police Department report on the Hulk Hogan sex tape extortion case was published on the “Bubba The Love Sponge” website, one of the men who was an integral part of the whole investigation. Sgt. Ralph Fine, who wrote the 31 page report, writes that the victim (Hogan) reported that personal property taken from him in 2012, without his knowledge or permission, was tweeted to him in a photo on today’s date. The victim believes the tweeted photo was intended as a personal threat because the release of its content has the potential to negatively affect his reputation and his livelihood. The report was written on May 23, 2014. The whole report goes over the Hogan sex tape and how the DVDs which were secretly recorded while Hogan and Heather Clem had sex were stolen including the allegations against Matt Loyd, a former employee of Bubba “The Love Sponge”, who is accused of leaking the tape to the media. There are only 23 pages published from 31 with the last entry on November 13, 2015. You can read it at all here. (Document not hosted on Wrestling-Online.com so it could disappear at any time without notice.)
January 13, 2016
҂ Hulk Hogan has a couple of busy days in court as his team and Gawker Media continue to battle it out in front of a judge as the trial set for March 7 looms closer. Yesterday, Gawker’s legal team asked Judge Pamela Campbell to release all sealed documents in the case for public consumption as they try to fight the $100 million lawsuit by invoking the First Amendment. Gawker also filed a motion to dismiss the whole case, a motion that the Judge denied during today’s hearing. Hogan’s career pretty much went up in smoke last July when the National Enquirer released audio conversations of Hogan using the N-word, audio recordings that Hogan’s legal team say that Gawker leaked to the media to dent his chances of winning the lawsuit. Hogan was fired from WWE and even removed from the Hall of Fame following the racial-filled recordings made it to the public. Yesterday, the court heard excerpts from depositions of Hogan himself, his lawyer David Houston, Heather Cole (formerly Clam), Bubba “The Love Sponge,” a statement from Lori Ann Burbridge – who met with a sex tape broker to sell the tape on behalf of Matt “Spiceboy” Loyd – and saw an exhibit of a confidential polygraph examination report.
January 21, 2016
҂ Gawker Media, the company facing the $100 million lawsuit by Hulk Hogan over the leaked sex tape, has sold a minority stake of its company to Columbus Nova Technology Partners, an investment company. This is the first time that Gawker has allowed outside investment and it’s because of the Hogan lawsuit. Gawker’s chief Nick Denton has said in the past that should the company lose its lawsuit and the jury awards Hogan the $100 million, the company would simply cease to exist as they do not have that amount of money. According to the Wall Street Journal, Gawker made only $6.5 million in profit in 2014. The trial between Hogan and Gawker is set to start on March 7.
January 22, 2016
҂ The Tampa Bay Times is reporting that the judge overseeing the Hulk Hogan vs Gawker case has suggested to both parties to “seek mediation” instead of a trial. Judge Pamela Campbell made her suggestion during a discussion about attorneys’ upcoming review of DVDs made during an FBI sting operation. “After the attorneys have an opportunity to look at those DVDs, I’m going to suggest that the attorneys or that you go back to mediation. I’m not going to require it, but I think you’ll see why.” Both sides will now review a total of five DVDs supplied by the FBI, DVDs that the judge has already reviewed. She said that some of the DVDs are definitely not admissible in court and urged the attorneys to listen to the audio from the FBI sting operation before they watch the videos. “I’ll let you all review them, and then we can discuss what each side wants to do with them, which for the majority of those DVDs, it’s slim to none.” If they can’t reach an out-of-court settlement, the trial will head to jury selection on March 7.
March 2, 2016
҂ Jury selection in the Hulk Hogan vs Gawker trial began yesterday, kicking off a trial that is expected to last three weeks. Nearly 500 potential jurors were summoned, all mostly from Hogan’s area, and around 100 of those were told to return today. The Associated Press reported that the jurors did not like the fact that the trial is going to last that long. Before he entered the courtroom, the former WWE and WCW champion told his millions of Twitter fans that it’s time for the “real main event.” He said that he’s going to slam another giant and then wrote, “Watcha Gonna Do Gawker? Only Justice Brother.” It’s the first time that a celebrity is suing for a sex tape publication and a victory for Hogan will create a precedent that will impact celebrity news websites when it comes to news. Hogan is suing Gawker for $100 million after the website published parts of his sex tape video back in 2012, six years after it was recorded. Hogan is citing violation of privacy while Gawker is standing behind the First Amendment and saying that they were right to publish the video since Hogan talked about his sex life before, making the news of interest to the public.
March 4, 2016
҂ The jury selection in the Hulk Hogan vs Gawker trial wrapped up today with the final 70 jurors making one more trip to the courtroom to see who are the unlucky ones who have to endure three weeks of courtroom drama. A total of nine jurors made the cut, including 3 alternates. Those who will be on the jury are 4 women and 2 men. Hundreds of potential jurors were summoned during the week and many of them filled out a 14-page questionnaire to see how much they know about Hulk and Gawker. The Judge also asked them to stay off the Internet so they don’t get swayed one way or another, a request which wasn’t met by a lot of enthusiasm. Some jurors got dismissed after saying some outrageous statements, a very good way to get out of jury duty. The trial will be starting on Monday, March 7.
March 7, 2016
҂ The Hulk Hogan vs Gawker trial officially started this morning in Pinellas County, Florida, with Hogan hoping for a big pay out of $100 million against media company Gawker for posting excerpts of his sex tape online and providing a full play-by-play text description of what happened. Opening remarks were kicked off by Hogan’s attorney Shane Vogt and said that Gawker is “full of hypocrites” who usually condemn other websites who post nude photos of celebrities. He said he won’t play the video to the jury but they are free to watch it if they want to. “He makes mistakes,” Hogan’s lawyer said. “He’s going to sit right there on that stand and he’s going to own it.” Hogan will be the first one on the witness stand. He closed off his remarks by telling the jury that they want Hulk to be paid for each of the 7 million plus visitors who watched part of the video and explained how online advertising works with clicks and impressions. In his opening remarks, Gawker’s attorney Mike Berry said that the company didn’t make any money from advertising from the post as posts tagged NSFW don’t carry ads. He said that the writer, AJ Daulerio, posted only 9 seconds of actual sex footage while “the rest was conversation” and only “used enough of the video to illustrate the point of his commentary.” He repeated that they don’t know who sent the DVD and it’s still a mystery to them on who threw Hogan under the bus. “Mr. Bollea has spent years telling the public why he is a role model…Daulerio got a DVD that showed something different,” Berry concluded.
March 8, 2016
҂ Hulk Hogan testified yesterday in his case against Gawker, saying that the whole leak of the sex tape embarrassed him both as a person and as a character. “I was embarrassed by what it did to me as a person, but it was even embarrassing as a character. Hulk Hogan was embarrassed,” Hogan told the jury which is mostly women. Hogan described what went down when he found out about the leak and saw the post on Gawker, saying he went numb and then his hands started to shake violently. Hogan accused his former friend, Bubba “The Love Sponge” but he denied having anything to do with the distribution even though he secretly recorded him having sex with his ex-wife. The litigation between Hogan and Bubba “The Love Sponge” ended with an out of court settlement agreement which according to various outlets, Bubba only had to pay $5,000 to Hogan and agreed not to testify against the former wrestling champ. When discussing the differences between Hulk Hogan and the man who portrays him, Terry Bollea, Hulk said that Terry is a regular person who can’t get over the fact that he’s bald and has to wear a bandana to hide it, can’t say no to his kids and is soft spoken while the character of Hulk Hogan is loud and talks about his sex life on radio shows. He then switched to the Hulkster character to talk to the jury to show them how he can go from Terry to Hulk in an instant. The trial continues.
March 9, 2016
҂ Day 2 of Hulk Hogan vs Gawker trial took a weird twist as Hulk and Gawker’s attorney went head to head arguing about Hogan’s penis size. To show to the jurors that Hogan was open about his sex life in public, Gawker’s attorney brought up the interview on Howard Stern where Hogan was boasting that he has a 10 inch penis. Hogan interrupted and said that he doesn’t have a 10 inch penis and he was talking in the Hulk Hogan character, where as Terry Bollea’s penis is, well, not that big. Hogan kept telling Gawker’s Mike Berry that there’s a difference between Terry Bollea, the person sitting here giving the testimony, and Hulk Hogan, the character from professional wrestling. He said that Hulk Hogan’s privacy went out of the window the moment he decided to be in the world of pro wrestling but that doesn’t mean Terry Bollea’s privacy had to be breached. Hogan told Berry that he’s trying to help him understand and will keep trying doing his best!
March 10, 2016
҂ WWE Hall of Famer The Iron Sheik wrote a hilarious open letter – all in caps – to Hulk Hogan and Gawker and it was published by Esquire.com. Sheik said that without him there would be no Hulkamania and he did the honors for him and “Mr Kennedy McMahon” when he could have taken the offer to break his leg. He said that Hogan told him that he “owed him one” but he hasn’t seen that day yet but “it’s okay” as he’s in the Hall of Fame and he’s a legend forever. Despite calling Hogan a “half and half howdy doody looking jabronie guitar player,” he said that Hulk is still “one of the boys” and it’s a shame that today “nobody give a f**k about history.” Turning his attention to Gawker, he said that they made Hogan look bad by getting “cheap heat” and called them “no good son of a bitch” as they don’t respect the privacy and have no class. “I can’t wait I see Mr. Gawker I suplex you put you in camel clutch break your his back I make him humble,” Sheik added. Gotta love The Iron Sheik! You can read the full letter at http://bit.ly/1UbVURR.
March 11, 2016
҂ The fourth day of the Hulk Hogan vs Gawker trial yesterday consisted mostly of the cross-examination of one of Hogan’s paid expert witnesses, Michael Foley from the University of Florida who is a professor in journalism. It was not a particularly good day for Hogan’s camp as Foley was smashed on the witness stand by Gawker’s attorney, who pretty much labeled Foley as an old school guy who has no idea on new media and who has not worked for a newspaper for over 20 years. Foley was also caught when he said no news outlet would show the Hogan video and Gawker’s lawyer fired back saying that ABC News showed a clip. The trial entered its fifth day today with Hogan’s expert witness, Shanti Shunn, a digital marketing expert, testifying first. He said that the Hogan sex tape was viewed almost 4,500,000 times. Shunn fumbled when in cross-examination he said that he’s not sure if the numbers he quotes were page views or unique viewers. When asked by Gawker’s attorney if he simply doesn’t know how many people watched the video on Gawker, Shunn said, “Not really.” According to reporters on site covering the trial, Shunn is being paid $550 an hour to testify on behalf of the Hulkster. Jeff Anderson – the Director of Valuation & Analytics at CONSOR, an intellectual asset consulting firm specializing in trademark, patent and copyright licensing, valuations, and expert testimony – also took the witness stand. Anderson was brought in to evaluate the worth of Gawker after they published the Hogan sex tape. Anderson said that Gawker benefited from an approximate $15 million increase when they published the tape and estimated that the fair market value for Gawker.com is around $286 million. Anderson was a much better witness for the Hogan team than Foley or Shunn and seemed to be very direct and knew what he was talking about when he was explaining how they came to the conclusion of all the numbers.
March 12, 2016
҂ Linda Bollea, the ex wife of Hulk Hogan, came out all guns blazing against Hulk as he’s going through the trial against Gawker, saying she as zero sympathy for what happened to him. Speaking to Inside Edition, Linda said that she only found out about the video when the media spilled the beans. The two were still married when Hulk had sex with Heather Clem, the ex wife of Bubba “The Love Sponge.” “It is hard to believe I was married to this man, that I had children with, that I lived with, that I had to look at and talk to and trust as my husband and he is doing this kind of stuff behind my back?” Linda said. Linda also broke down when she read a letter to Hulk during the segment on Inside Edition blaming Hogan for their failed marriage and everything that happened. She said she would never forgive him unless he apologizes for everything he put her and her children through. Asked if she thinks he deserves anything from this trial against Gawker, Linda said, “No, not at all.” If Hogan wins, Linda obviously gets zero money from him since the two have settled their legal obligations to each other.
҂ Hulk Hogan’s legal team rested their case against Gawker yesterday after a full week of testimony from Hulk himself and other paid expert witnesses with the hopes of winning the $100 million lawsuit. On Monday, Gawker’s attorneys will call its witnesses and things are expected to heat up when Gawker.com founder Nick Denton takes the stand. Last week, AJ Daulerio, the man behind the Hogan sex tape post on Gawker, took the stand and stunned the courtroom with one of his replies. Asked to explain if there would be a time when a celebrity sex tape would not be newsworthy, Daulerio said yes, if it involved a child. Asked, “Under what age?” by Hogan’s attorney, Daulerio replied, “Four.” Gawker’s attorneys could choose to show the video next week as part of their plan but Circuit Court Judge Pamela Campbell, who is presiding the case, said that only jury can see it and no one else.
March 14, 2016
҂ Gawker asked the judge today to dismiss the $100 million lawsuit against them if Bubba “The Love Sponge” is not allowed to testify. Bubba has claimed that if he is asked to testify, he will plead the 5th as to not incriminate himself. He is the one who secretly recorded Hogan and his ex-wife Heather Clem having sex but the two sides settled out of court for $5,000. The judge ruled that Bubba doesn’t have to testify in front of the jury and then Gawker’s legal team suggested to question him in front of a video camera and then play it in front of the jury. The judge agreed to Gawker’s request. The defense today called AJ Daulerio as its first witness, the man who wrote the sex tape post which landed Gawker here today. Daulerio is no longer working for Gawker and said that his departure from the company had nothing to do with the Hulk Hogan post. Daulerio described Hogan as “one of the best professional wrestlers of all-time,” and said he was “amused” by the video tape when he received it. He said he grew up watching Hogan – although he was a Piper fan – and it was not a situation he ever expected to see Hogan in. Gawker’s attorneys then hammered the fact that out of the 1 minute 41 second clip posted by Daulerio, only 9 seconds of that involved actual sex. Daulerio said the post didn’t focus on the sex because if it was he would have a different edit of it but just wanted to confirm to everyone that the two were indeed having a sexual encounter. Daulerio also said that he met with the Gawker’s business department to remove ads from the post, something that Gawker’s attorney pointed out several times saying that they did not make money off the post. Daulerio admitted that he did not speak with Gawker’s owner Nick Denton before publishing the post and said that – to no surprise – Hogan’s post was “extremely popular,” especially after Hogan went on his media tour to talk about it. He said he received a $2,000 bonus that month for his good work. Also taking the witness stand today was Emma Carmichael, current editor-in-chief of Jezebel. Carmichael was in charge of copy editing the post and assisted the video editing department to create the clip.
March 15, 2016
҂ Day seven of the Hulk Hogan vs Gawker trial featured the testimony of Nick Denton, Gawker’s founder, who said that sometimes a celebrity’s right of privacy is trumped by the public’s right to know the story. Denton admitted that watching the video made him “uncomfortable,” however in the bigger picture, it was the right thing to do in the interest of their readers. Hogan’s lawyer then tore into Denton and reminded him that during his wedding to husband Derrence Washington, they asked their guests to turn off their cell phones. “We asked them, yes, but we didn’t sue people,” Denton shot back. Denton defended the posting of the tape however and said he would have taken action if the story turned out to be false. Denton said that there are three things he believes in before posting a story: “Is it true? Is it interesting? And check with legal,” Denton said. The attorney then asked Denton if all celebs waive their privacy just because they are a celebrity and Denton responded with a no. During a heated exchange, Hogan’s attorney Ken Turkel dropped the F bomb and then apologized to the court and the jury. Turkel then demanded that Denton read a portion of the post that accompanied the video, a very graphic post which Denton earlier described as a “sweet, sympathetic paragraph.” Ouch! The jury at this point has still not seen the video which is the main topic of this lawsuit. Taking the stand today as well is Mia Libby, the Senior Vice President of Sales for Gawker Media. Libby is defending Gawker when it comes to the financial side of the website, saying that Gawker didn’t make additional money from the Hogan post, adding that advertisers don’t want to be associated with sexually explicit material. She said that posts tagged NSFW triggers an “automatic collapse” of advertising across Gawker pages.
March 16, 2016
҂ It might be bad news for Hogan as the 2nd District Court of Appeal in Florida ordered today that records from the Gawker lawsuit must be unsealed, overturning a decision taken by Pinellas County judge Judge Pamela Campbell. It’s still not revealed which documents will become available but this can lead to further embarrassing moments for the former WWE and WCW champion. Hogan’s camp fought hard to keep them sealed while Gawker’s legal team wanted them released to the public. According to the Tampa Bay Times, the sealed records in the case could include details of an FBI investigation into an alleged extortion attempt against Hogan. They could also include video of his racist rant, a rant which caused havoc for Hogan last Summer.
҂ Day 8 of the Hulk Hogan vs Gawker trial kicked off this morning with Elizabeth Traub, Hulk’s publicist, taking the stand and watching herself on video from a deposition she gave earlier. Traub said she called a press conference after the video was published to show to the press that Hogan was going to fight this one and said she contacted TMZ hoping that they would cover the press conference. After Traub, Peter Horan appeared for the defense. He’s an investor in several digital media companies including About.com and is Gawker’s financial damages expert witness. It’s his first time as an expert witness, he says, and he’s charging $400 an hour. Not bad. Horan said it’s difficult to pin point exactly the value of the company from just one post. Hogan’s expert witness said that Gawker’s value increased by a minimum of $5 million since then and a maximum of $15 million. Horan estimated that Gawker’s value roughly increased to $2.3 million after the post and said the company made around $11,000 directly generated from the Hogan sex tape post. After lunch break, Gawker’s team showed the 2015 deposition of Heather Cole, the ex-wife of Bubba “The Love Sponge” and the lady who was in the sex tape with the Hulkster. Cole said she slept with Hogan three times, once at their house, which is on video, once at Hogan’s house, and once in a hotel. She said that she didn’t know she was being filmed and said she was upset when she found out. During the playback of her deposition, Hogan didn’t look very happy and avoided looking at the monitor most of the times. Among all the usual chaos of a trial, journalists requested that if there are any discussions about today’s appeal court decision to unseal documents they should be there to cover. A New York Post journalist told the judge she wants to see the documents and the judge didn’t care and told her to sit back down and to get a counsel before she speaks again.
March 17, 2016
҂ The legal team representing Gawker Media today made a request to introduce new evidence into the trial, evidence that come from the seal records that the 2nd District Court of Appeal in Florida ordered to be unsealed. The new evidence in question is a DVD that came from the FBI investigation into the alleged extortion attempt against the former WWE and WCW champion. The sealed records could be damning for Hogan and his legal case against Gawker although at this point it’s not known what the court is unsealing. The fact that Gawker wants the DVD entered as evidence is a good indication that more bad news awaits Hogan. Hogan’s attorneys have filed a motion with the court halt the release of the sealed documents until the trial is over because releasing them now could have serious consequences at a critical time in the trial, a trial which is expected to wrap up next week.
҂ There’s some light at the end of the tunnel for jurors and reporters at the Hulk Hogan vs Gawker trial as closing arguments are hinted for tomorrow which means Hogan’s team had an extra day to present their case while the defense wrapped up in four. The actual sex tape will not be shown in the courtroom however the jurors are free to watch it during their deliberations which can last from a few hours, to a few days. At the start of day 9, judge Pamela Campbell informed the jury that Bubba “The Love Sponge” will not be testifying in front of them however the defense will show a deposition with Hulk which was recorded back in March 2014. The video showed Hogan in tong riding a wrecking ball in a commercial parody of Miley Cyrus’ music video. Hogan said that it was a bit embarrassing but there were only 3 people in the room. The commercial was for Hostamania.com. More video from other depositions were shown but the case wrapped up earlier than usual today and the jury was dismissed. After the jurors left, the attorneys for both sides argued over the inclusion of the new evidence as well as the live stream of the trial from Gawker which had ads on it. Hogan’s team filed a motion for the judge to check the live streaming, a motion which was accepted. The live stream on Gawker’s website stopped working after the testimony of Mia Libby, the Senior Vice President of Sales for the company, who kept saying that Gawker didn’t make money from Hogan’s sex tape since there were no ads running. Now Hogan’s legal team are claiming that the feed was stopped intentionally following Libby’s testimony, a testimony which included a reply from Libby that said that she thinks there there were no ads on Gawker’s live feed of the trial.
March 18, 2016
҂ Closing arguments were delivered today in the Hulk Hogan vs Gawker trial, wrapping up a two week court case before the jury takes over for deliberations. Hogan’s attorney Ken Turkel had the important task to convince the jury that Gawker was wrong and Hogan deserves the pinfall victory in this trial while Gawker attorney Michael Sullivan had an equal important job, convincing the jury that Gawker did nothing wrong in its report. Turkel lambasted Gawker’s employees who were revealed the make fun of Hogan in their campfire chats and said that this video is what defines the company. He told the jury that Gawker is “indecent” and proud of it. He rips into Gawker founder Nick Denton and quotes something from what Denton said back in 2009 saying that Gawker doesn’t seek to do good and they may “inadvertently commit journalism” but at the end of the day it’s not the “institutional intention.” He also reads a quote from 2013 where Denton said that the invasion of privacy of certain people has “incredibly positive effects on society.” Turkel explains how Denton lives in New York, sits behind a computer and “plays God” with other people’s lives. He also said that Denton is a “porn king” having owned Fleshbot which he eventually sold. Turkel told jurors that Hogan had a lot of emotional distress and while the former champ did not cry on the stand, he was still beat down. He emphasized to evaluate the emotional toll that this whole sex tape had on Hogan’s life. The sum Hogan is asking for is $50,378,342 in compensatory damages with punitive damages to follow. “Let’s get to the punitive stage and let’s get some justice done here,” Turkel said, finishing his closing arguments. It took Turkel around 90 minutes to deliver the statements.
҂ Right after Ken Turkel’s nearly 90 minute speech to the jury, Gawker’s attorney Michael Sullivan took over to defend his client. Sullivan went immediately on the offensive and questioned why Hogan’s team did not opt to show the video to the jury. He tells jurors to watch it during their deliberations as he feels that Hogan left a good piece of evidence that is critical to the case. He said that no one is going to pay $5 to watch 9 seconds of sex, which is how much actual sex was in Gawker’s edit posted online. Hogan’s team came with the $5 price and that’s how the $50 million figure came up, factoring in traffic. Gawker’s attorney tells jurors that Hogan went on TMZ to probably get more attention after the sex tape was released as no celebrity would use TMZ to send a serious message. He shot down the differences between the man Terry Bollea and the character Hulk Hogan, saying that not even Hulk himself knows when he’s Terry or Hulk. He said that if the jury awards Hogan the victory, celebrities will have a precedent and will start suing websites for things that they don’t like. Sullivan thinks that Hogan wasn’t really upset about the tape and instead of filing an injunction immediately, he went around in a media tour. Sullivan once again brings up the spoof of Miley Cyrus’ wrecking ball video where Hogan swings in a thong on a wrecking ball, saying he was upset about the video but still went ahead with this commercial. Sullivan questioned the fact that if there’s anyone who knows the “dark and twisted” things that Bubba “The Love Sponge” is into, it’s Hogan and he still went to his house and had sex with his then-wife Heather Cole in his bedroom. He asks if all this was a publicity stunt but there are only two people in this world who knows – Hogan and Bubba and Bubba is not testifying. Gawker’s legal man said that his client had a harder case to fight as it was easy for Hogan’s team to make the jury feel sympathetic for him and make them dislike Gawker for what they do. Judge Pamela Campbell then sent the six jurors, 4 women and 2 men, packing to start deliberating and ordered them not to talk about the case outside the room.
҂ The FBI records in the Hulk Hogan vs Gawker lawsuit have been unsealed which could wreck havoc for Hogan and his legal team. Just over 1,800 pages in total were unsealed, all of which now reside online in two PDF documents at http://www.2dca.org/Clerk/2D15-5044/15-5044.shtml. Perhaps the most important, or one of the most important, piece of information is the text messages log between Hulk Hogan and Bubba “The Love Sponge” which the FBI confiscated. In one of the text messages, Hogan wrote, “We know there’s more than one tape out there and a one that has several racial slurs were told. I have a PPV and I am not waiting for anymore surprises because we know there is a lot more coming.” This completely contradicts what Hogan said, having previously testified that he did not that he was being recorded. The whole case was based off the fact that Hogan supposedly did not know that he was being filmed and that’s why he feels his privacy was violated. In an interview with the FBI, Bubba admitted that Hogan knew that he was being recorded having sex with his then-wife and even Heather knew. Hogan reached an out of court settlement agreement with Bubba for just $5,000. Apart form the sum, Bubba agreed not to testify against Hogan and Gawker fought hard to have him on the stand but the judge ultimately refused to honor the request. In another document, Hogan’s attorney says that the primary concern of Hogan was that he made “deeply racist comments” and wanted to pursue the FBI investigation so the lawsuit was mainly not because of the sex in the tape but rather the conversation that went along. It’s unclear at this point if the jury will have access to the unsealed documents because if they do, Gawker and its lawyers will be very, very happy.
҂ The six person jury – four women and two men – didn’t take long to deliberate on the outcome of the Hulk Hogan vs Gawker trial and found Gawker guilty and awarded Hogan a total of $115 million yesterday, $15 million more than Hogan originally sued for. When the verdict was read, the former WWE and WCW champion burst into tears, capping off a two-week intense trial with many expert witnesses who testified for both sides of the camp. “Mr. Bollea is exceptionally happy. This is not only his victory today, but also anyone else who’s been victimized by tabloid journalism,” said his lawyer David Houston said outside the courtroom. Hogan did not utter a word to journalists. The decision still doesn’t have the punitive damages so the compensation for Hogan could significantly be much higher. When breaking down the massive $115 million, $55 million was awarded for economic injuries and $60 million for emotional distress. The same jury will return to the courthouse next week to determine punitive charges. Gawker is appealing the decision and a statement from the company said that “it may be necessary for the appeals court to resolve this case.” You can see the video of the verdict at http://w-o.it/22ppl9d.
҂ Hulk Hogan declined to speak to the dozens of reporters outside the St Petersburg, Florida, courthouse yesterday after the verdict was delivered but gave his usual one liner on Twitter to address his fans. “Thank you God for justice, only love 4Life,” Hogan wrote. Meanwhile, Gawker Media founder Nick Denton’s statement was slightly longer and it didn’t thank anyone for justice. “Given key evidence and the most important witness were both withheld from this jury, we all knew the appeals court will need to resolve this case,” Denton wrote. “I want to thank our lawyers for their outstanding work and am confident that we would have prevailed at trial if we had been allowed to present the full case to the jury. That’s why we feel very positive about the appeal that we have already begun preparing, as we expect to win this case ultimately.” Despite filing for appeal, Gawker will still need to cough up at least a $50 million bond to get an automatic stay on the judgment. The company can request the court to reduce the amount or else if they’re lucky, get to pay nothing until the final appeal judgment. With Gawker appealing, the chances are that Hogan will not see the $115 million or else a relatively small figure compared to that. While Judge Pamela Campbell has been very pro-Hogan during the case, arguing that the recently unsealed FBI documents are “irrelevant” to the case and ordering the seal of the documents, the Florida’s Second District Court of Appeal hasn’t been so kind to the Hulkster, even overturning judge Campbell’s decision on sealing the documents. Gawker might have lost this battle but it doesn’t mean they will be losing the war. The appeal hearing won’t be tomorrow and it will be some time before this case is back.
March 21, 2016
҂ Hulk Hogan, Gawker, their respective legal teams and the jurors who last week award Hogan $115 million returned to the courtroom today to award punitive damages, if any, to Hogan. In her instructions to the jury, Judge Pamela Campbell explained that these extra punitive damages are not meant to drive a defendant bankrupt or financially destroy them but simply meant to deter future similar incidents and punish the defendant for what they did. Gawker’s attorney said that the $115 million the jury awarded to Hogan last week already exceeds the value of the company by around $30 million and that amount is already beyond what they can afford. Gawker grossed $48.7 million last year while the net worth of Gawker Media founder Nick Denton stands around $121 million and AJ Daulerio, the man who posted the Hogan sex tape story has $27,000…in debt, and no assets. The jury went back to deliberate and a result is expected within the next few hours.
҂ After over three hours of deliberations, the 4 women and 2 men jury who last week awarded Hulk Hogan $115 million in his lawsuit against Gawker, came back with their punitive damages. The three plaintiffs were ordered to pay $25,100,000 in total damages to Hulk Hogan on top of the $115 million. Gawker received a $15 million bill, its founder Nick Denton was handed a $10 million bill and AJ Daulerio, who has zero assets and is in $27,000 debt was ordered to pay $100,000. After the verdict was read, judge Pamela Campbell ordered the sex tape sealed. Gawker will be appealing the decisions and have a good chance of paying much less from the $115 million, if anything at all. They still have to post bond which will likely end up being around $50 million until the appellate court hears the case.
March 23, 2016
҂ Gawker is bullish on the idea that the appellate court will either reverse or radically reduce the combined $140 million that the jury awarded Hulk Hogan during the two week trial over his sex tape. Founder Nick Denton told CNN Money that the unsealed FBI documents had “increased our level of confidence” that appeals courts will side with Gawker eventually. Despite the fact that in theory it has a very good chance of happening, Gawker still has to put up $50 million in bond money to appeal and Denton didn’t want to talk about how they will pay if the appeals court sides with Hogan again. Gawker and Hogan returns to court some time in May as the company starts its appeals. Judge Pamela Campbell, the same one who presided over the trial, will head up the hearing. The former WWE and WCW champion Hulk Hogan is now doing media rounds to talk about the case and hoping to get back his WWE job. When a TMZ paparazzo caught up with Hogan in New York, Hogan jokingly said that he’d love to punch Vince McMahon in the nose!
March 24, 2016
҂ Hulk Hogan, fresh off the biggest win of his life, started doing media rounds this week to talk about the Gawker case. Hogan appeared on Inside Edition, TODAY, FOX411, The View, ABC News, and other shows. The six-member jury, four of which were women, also appeared on ABC News to discuss the trial saying that they made the correct decision. In his interview with TODAY, Hogan broke down when discussing the tape and his relationship with Bubba “The Love Sponge.” When asked if he blamed Bubba as much as Gawker, he said that he blamed himself more as he allowed himself to be put in that situation. He also talked about going off using the N word and said people know he’s not a racist and it was a mistake and shouldn’t have even used the word in the privacy of his friends’ home. Nick Denton, Gawker Media’s founder was also interview by The View the counter Hogan’s appearance. You can see the interview with TODAY, FOX411, the jurors’ interview, and Denton’s appearance at http://w-o.it/1MobjgM.
April 6, 2016
҂ Gawker Media has filed its appeal against the $140 million judgment that a jury of six awarded Hulk Hogan over the leak of the sex tape. On Monday, Gawker filed two motions – one that requests the verdict to be thrown out and the other for the damages to be greatly reduced – according to the Wall Street Journal. A hearing before Judge Pamela Campbell who presided over the trial will be held on May 25. “Gawker is now beginning the process of challenging the jury’s verdict in a trial where key evidence was wrongly withheld and the jury was not properly instructed on the Constitutional standards for newsworthiness,” the company said in a statement. “So we expect to be fully vindicated. And even if the verdict were to stand, there is no justification for awarding tens of millions of dollars never seen by victims of death and serious injuries.” One of Hogan’s lawyers, David Houston, said that they expected Gawker to file a motion for a new trial and an appeal. “It is apparent Gawker is unable to accept responsibility for their actions or demonstrate any intention of correcting their behavior,” Houston said.
April 14, 2016
҂ An audio clip from the Hulk Hogan racist-filled sex tape has just been published on the Internet thanks to deathandtaxesmag.com. The tape was obtained from the unsealed audio recording of the sting operation from the FBI investigation. The audio is not a direct extract from the tape but it’s a recording from someone that captured it while Hulk, his attorney, and a broker for the tape, Keith Davidson, were watching it together. There are some inaudible parts and some portions are redacted but the audio clearly puts Hogan using several racist remarks. Hogan is heard talking to Heather Clem about his daughter sleeping with the son of a “black billionaire” and complains that she “jumped sides” on him. Hogan just won a $140 million lawsuit against Gawker who released excerpts of his sex tape. Gawker appealed the jury outcome and the next hearing is in May. You can hear part of the leaked audio at https://soundcloud.com/death-and-taxes/hulk-hogan-n-word-rant.
May 3, 2016
҂ Hulk Hogan is having another go at Gawker, filing a second lawsuit against the company for “intentionally inflicted emotional distress upon him by leaking a sealed transcript of surreptitiously recorded private oral communications in a bedroom to the media.” Hogan and his legal team are sure that Gawker were the ones responsible for leaking the recording to The National Enquirer in July of last year, a recording filled with several racial slurs that eventually led to his dismissal from WWE. Before the recordings were leaked, Gawker CEO Nick Denton wrote a story saying that Hogan’s “real secret” will be revealed soon while AJ Daulerio, the author of the original article on Gawker involving Hogan’s sex tape tweeted “XOXOXO” while attaching a link to the Enquirer’s post. “This is getting ridiculous,” Gawker said in a statement. “It was absurd enough that Hulk Hogan claimed $100m for emotional distress and economic damage for a story about a sex life that he’d already made public. Now Hulk Hogan is blaming Gawker for racist remarks he made on another sex tape, which Gawker never had.” Hogan filed the lawsuit in Pinellas County, the same place where he won the invasion of privacy lawsuit against Gawker, getting a total $140 million in damages. Gawker is appealing.
May 25, 2016
҂ Forbes.com is reporting that Peter Thiel, one of PayPal’s co-founder, has been secretly covering the expenses of Hulk Hogan’s lawsuits against Gawker. In early March, LawNewz.com uploaded a story with rumors of someone secretly bankrolling Hogan’s fight versus Gawker and now the name of Thiel came up. Nick Denton, the founder of Gawker, told the New York Times that he had a “hunch” that someone from Silicon Valley was helping the former WWE champion. “If you’re a billionaire and you don’t like the coverage of you, and you don’t particularly want to embroil yourself any further in a public scandal, it’s a pretty smart, rational thing to fund other legal cases,” he told the Times. What’s interesting is that Thiel was targeted by Gawker years ago as the company tried to out him as gay before he eventually went public about his sexuality. A rep for Thiel declined to comment on the story when contacted by Forbes. W-O reader Dr. Mike Lano also sent in word that the story was discussed on the CBS Morning News program this morning. On Tuesday Hulk Hogan filed a motion against Gawker asking the court to force the three defendants – Gawker, Nick Denton, and AJ Daulerio – to each put $50 million in an escrow account if they want to appeal the judgment against them.
҂ Hulk Hogan and Gawker are back in court today as their case continues but it was bad news for Gawker as their motion for a new trial was denied by Judge Pamela Campbell. She also said she will not reduce the $140 million judgment. Out of the $140 million that Hogan was awarded, $55 million of them were listed as economic damages. Gawker’s legal team argued that this has to be reduced and “at most” it should be $525,000 or less. Gawker argued that that’s the money that Hogan could have made if he marketed the sex tape, a number which was brought up by their paid expert witness during the trial in March. Gawker is ready to appeal but first has to put down a sum to go forward with their legal battle, a sum which will be decided by the judge. The company is confident that the court of appeals will overturn the judgment and in previous appeal fights Gawker always found a way to win against Hogan.
June 10, 2016
҂ Tampa Bay Times is reporting that Gawker’s motion to postpone the $140 million judgment against them pending a review from an appeals court has been granted by a judge today in another hearing. Shares from the company will be used as a security instead. Meanwhile, Gawker has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy following the case and is being held up in auction according to the Wall Street Journal. The auction will begin with an opening bid of $100 million. The two defendants, AJ Daulerio, who wrote the original Hogan sex tape post, and Nick Denton, CEO of Gawker Media, cannot afford to pay that amount of money so their shares in the company were pledged. Daulerio has 6,000 shares while Denton has 45 million shares according to the Tampa Bay Times.
August 1, 2016
҂ Gawker Media founder Nick Denton will file for Chapter 11 personal bankruptcy protection today and such move will prevent Hulk Hogan from seizing his assets after the $140 million judgment against him, Gawker Media, and former writer A.J. Daulerio. Daulerio is also filing for bankruptcy. Gawker Media filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in June and the assets of the company will be sold at an auction this month. Both defendants – Denton and Daulerio – along with Gawker Media filed for appeal but a ruling is not expected from the appeals court until next year and the Florida court, Florida appeals court, and a bankruptcy court in New York have all denied a stay in the judgment. “Gawker Media Group’s resilient brands and people will thrive under new ownership, when the sale closes in the next few weeks,” Denton wrote on Twitter. “On this bitter day for me, I am consoled by the fact that my colleagues will soon be freed from this tech billionaire’s vendetta.” Denton was referring to Peter Thiel who secretly funded Hulk Hogan’s trial against Gawker and who had a long history with Gawker after the company outed him as gay. Hogan’s attorney David Houston commented on the news that Denton and Daulerio are filing for bankruptcy. “Mr. Denton and Mr. Daulerio’s legal maneuvering is nearing an end. It is time for them to take responsibility for what they’ve done.”
August 8, 2016
҂ The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Hulk Hogan and Gawker Media are in talks to reach a settlement over the $140 million judgment that found Gawker, its CEO and Founder Nick Denton, and former editor A.J. Daulerio guilty in the lawsuit brought forward by Hogan over the publication of the sex tape. Denton, Daulerio, and Gawker Media all filed for bankruptcy and the company will be sold at an auction this month. WSJ tried to reach out to representatives from both camps but they did not respond to a request for comment. The two sides, mainly from the defendants, tried to reach a settlement during the almost-three week trial but Hogan’s team refused it, opting to go all the way and gamble on the jury to reach a positive verdict for them. Multi-billionaire Peter Thiel was funding the lawsuit for Hogan so from his end there was no reason to end it prematurely.
November 2, 2016
҂ LawNewz.com is reporting that Gawker Media has settled with Hulk Hogan for $31 million in cash plus a percentage of the proceeds from the sale of the company according to documents filed in court today. David Houston, Hogan’s attorney said, “As with any negotiation for resolution, all parties have agreed it is time to move on.” The man who secretly funded Hogan’s legal battle against Gawker, PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, added, “It is a great day for Terry Bollea and a great day for everyone’s right to privacy.” Thiel had a bad history with Gawker after the website outed him as gay a few years ago. Hogan won a $140 million judgment from Gawker on March 18 after the six person jury – four women and two men – found Gawker guilty in the sex tape lawsuit. The jury trial lasted two weeks. When breaking down the $140 million figure, $55 million were awarded for economic injuries, $60 million for emotional distress, and the rest in punitive damages. Gawker Media filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in June and two months later, founder Nick Denton filed for Chapter 11 personal bankruptcy protection. Former writer A.J. Daulerio also filed for bankruptcy. On August 8, the Wall Street Journal reported that attorneys for Gawker and Hogan were trying to reach a settlement agreement after it was clear that Gawker had no way to pay that massive sum.
҂ In a blog piece titled “A hard peace,” Gawker founder Nick Denton said that after four years of litigation funded by a billionaire with a grudge, the saga is finally over and a settlement has been reached. Despite saying that they were all confident that the Florida appeals court would reduce or eliminate the $140 million judgment, Denton wrote that the legal war with Peter Thiel, the man who funded Hogan’s legal battle, would have cost way too much and hurt too many people. Thiel had publicly supported Hogan and said he would support him until his final victory, with Denton noting that with those words, “Gawker’s nemesis was not going away” until the never-ending lawsuit was over. “It’s a shame the Hogan trial took place without the motives of the plaintiff’s backer being known. If there is a lasting legacy from this experience, it should be a new awareness of the danger of dark money in litigation finance,” Denton wrote. “And that’s surely in the spirit of the transparency Gawker was founded to promote. As for Peter Thiel himself, he is now for a wider group of people to contemplate.”
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