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Nick Denton says the Hulk Hogan case was really about racist comments made in an unreleased video and that Gawker will win on appeal


You might have heard: A Florida jury ordered Gawker to pay $115 million to Hulk Hogan, but legal experts say the effect on press freedom from the case is likely to be limited

But did you know: Hulk Hogan’s lawsuit against Gawker wasn’t really about a sex tape that Gawker published, but instead about racist comments Hogan made in an unreleased video, Nick Denton says. Denton argues that Hogan filed the lawsuit to prevent that video from being released. With that and other information left out of the trial, Denton says that explains why Gawker was held liable, but he maintains that Gawker will win on appeal. Denton writes: “These always-on celebrities should not be surprised when their credibility is questioned, and journalists attempt to sort out what is real and what is fake. That’s our job, and we intend to pursue it both in the courts and on the page.”

+ Mathew Ingram agrees that the ruling in the case will likely be overturned: “As with so many First Amendment cases, there’s no question that the Gawker story is unpleasant and possibly even offensive, and certainly distasteful in a variety of ways. But the test of a free speech standard isn’t that it protects speech everyone agrees with — it’s that it protects a media outlet’s right to publish offensive or unsavory or distasteful speech as well” (Fortune)

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