Tags: gawker | nick denton | peter thiel | bully | media

Gawker's Nick Denton: Peter Thiel a 'Bully'

Image: Gawker's Nick Denton: Peter Thiel a 'Bully'
Nick Denton (Photo by Fred Lee/ABC via Getty Images)

By    |   Tuesday, 31 May 2016 12:10 PM

Gawker founder Nick Denton defended the rights of the media to write stories about a celebrity's private life following his company's lawsuit loss to wrestler Hulk Hogan in an invasion of privacy case over the publication of a sex tape.

Denton also discussed the revelation that billionaire Peter Thiel was bankrolling the suit as a form of revenge against Gawker.

Commenting on Thiel's accusations that Gawker is a bully, Denton told CBS' "This Morning" program, "I think it's a little rich for somebody worth $2.7 billion who spent a portion of their fortune [to try to destroy Gawker] to describe anyone else as a bully."

Thiel, who was upset that Gawker outed him as gay in 2007, admitted last week that he has been supporting lawsuits against the company. When asked if he was surprised, Denton said, "We had some suspicions, but it seemed crazy. The idea that there would be somebody behind this, that there would be some long-standing plan that somebody would be spending $10 million, maybe more, funding a whole series of cases against a media company because they didn't like critical coverage."

Since that revelation, Denton has challenged Thiel to a debate about free speech rights and journalistic ethics.

According to Denton, the Hogan case, in which a Florida jury awarded the wrestler $140 million, Hogan bragged about his sex life and as a celebrity. "When somebody actually does make something a topic of public discussion, they can't be that surprised when others jump in, and the narrative goes in a direction they don't necessarily want."

Commenting on the accusations of revealing that Thiel was gay, Denton told CBS that the billionaire had already told the New Yorker a few years earlier that he was homosexual, but that in any case there is nothing wrong with "a piece celebrating the fact that the most talented venture capitalist in Silicon Valley was gay in a largely straight male world. I think that's as worthy of note as whether Carly Fiorina was the first powerful female executive in Silicon Valley. It's not something to be ashamed of. I think it's weird for people to behave like it is."

The entire Denton-Thiel battle has sparked debate between a celebrity's right to privacy and press freedoms, with The Wrap commenting that "Thiel's campaign may be legal, but over time it will have an insidious effect on free speech, vigorous journalism and even satire."

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Gawker founder Nick Denton defended the rights of the media to write stories about a celebrity's private life following his company's lawsuit loss to wrestler Hulk Hogan in an invasion of privacy case over the publication of a sex tape.
gawker, nick denton, peter thiel, bully, media
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2016-10-31
Tuesday, 31 May 2016 12:10 PM
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