P1060408 by Randsom Via Flickr: LUKE CAGE, HERO FOR HIRE might very well have been my favorite costume at the NYCC. This totally ripped, 6'6" dynamo was the living embodiment of the character he portrays. “Sweet Christmas!”
Billionaire investor Peter Thiel, who was outed as gay by Gawker in 2007, has been secretly funding Hulk Hogan's lawsuit against Gawker.
Hulk Hogan had a secret financial backer in his legal fight against Gawker Media for invasion of privacy.
Peter Thiel, a billionaire entrepreneur and philanthropist, helped fund the case brought by the wrestler, Terry Gene Bollea, better known as Hulk Hogan, against Gawker, said a person briefed on the arrangement who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Mr. Thiel, a co-founder of PayPal and one of the earliest investors in Facebook, privately agreed to help pay the expenses of Mr. Bollea’s legal team, this person said.
A self-described libertarian, Mr. Thiel has a long history with Gawker, which published an article in 2007 outing him as gay. Mr. Thiel, who is now open about his sexual orientation, once described the Gawker-owned site Valleywag as “the Silicon Valley equivalent of Al Qaeda.”
The details of Mr. Thiel’s arrangement to support Mr. Bollea’s case are protected by a confidentiality agreement and could not be learned.
A Florida jury awarded Mr. Bollea $140 million in March over a sex tape Gawker published in 2012.
The revelation of Mr. Thiel’s involvement in Mr. Bollea’s case, which has captured headlines this year for its salacious disclosures, came a day after Nick Denton, Gawker’s founder, was quoted in The New York Times as saying that he believed that Mr. Bollea’s case was being supported by a mysterious third party.
“My own personal hunch is that it’s linked to Silicon Valley,” Mr. Denton said.
Mr. Denton called on Mr. Bollea’s legal team, which refused to comment on the possibility of an outside funder, to disclose the backer.
Mr. Thiel’s identity was first reported late Tuesday by Forbes magazine.
There is nothing illegal about funding such legal cases; there is an entire industry known as litigation finance that often helps invest in and financially support lawyers working on contingency in small and large cases. It is not common for a lawsuit to be backed by a third party that may have other motives.
Questions about the independence of Mr. Bollea, who never mentioned a third-party backer, first emerged when his lawyer removed a claim from his complaint that had the effect of eliminating Gawker’s insurance company from the case. That struck many legal observers as odd, given that most lawyers seeking large payouts want to include claims that are insured against because doing so increases the chances of a settlement.