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article imageHulk Hogan verdict forces Gawker founder Denton into bankruptcy

By Nathan Salant     Aug 2, 2016 in Internet
New York - Gawker founder Nick Denton declared bankruptcy on Monday after a federal judge allowed collection efforts to begin on $140 million in damages the news website was found liable for in a lawsuit filed by professional wrestler Hulk Hogan.
Denton filed the petition seeking bankruptcy court protection after a judge in Florida refused to block enforcement of the verdict against him and the website in Hogan's invasion-of-privacy lawsuit.
The Gawker Media founder sought bankruptcy court protection Monday in New York, claiming he does not have enough money to pay damage to Hogan's reputation following the website's posting of parts of a sex tape showing him having sex with a friend's ex-wife.
The site filed for bankruptcy on June 10, temporarily blocking efforts to collect the money.
Denton sought to block enforcement of the verdict while he appealed it, claiming the large damage award threatened press freedom, but a judge in Florida ruled July 29 that Hogan — whose real name is Terry Bollea — could move ahead with collection activities, which likely will include seizure of Gawker's remaining assets.
"The time has come for Nick Denton to accept responsibility for the decisions he made and the rewards he reaped based on the suffering and humiliation of others," said David Houston, an attorney for Hogan.
"His bankruptcy has nothing to do with who paid Mr. Bollea's legal bills, and everything to do with Denton's own choices and accountability," Houston said.
"If even one person has been spared the humiliation that Mr. Bollea suffered, this is a victory," he said.
Denton is said to be helping to prepare Gawker Media for sale later this month, a sale expected to yield $90 million or more for the company's stable of websites, according to the AP.
Denton has said he expected at least 15 parties to offer bids on the company, which he started from his apartment as a blog in 2002.
"Gawker Media Group's resilient brands and people will thrive under new ownership, when the sale closes in the next few weeks," Denton posted Monday on Twitter, the AP said.
Hogan's lawsuit was reportedly bankrolled by PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, a Facebook board member who was outed by Gawker in 2007.
Thiel said earlier this year that his aid to Hogan was a philanthropic gesture to help someone unable to defend themselves from press attacks, the AP said.
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