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Peter Thiel, the billionaire tech investor and co-founder of Paypal, has admitted to backing Hulk Hogan’s invasion of privacy lawsuit against Gawker Media. Thiel was outed by Gawker as gay in 2007.
“It’s less about revenge and more about specific deterrence,” Thiel told The New York Times in his first interview since he was revealed as Hogan’s backer.
He added: “I saw Gawker pioneer a unique and incredibly damaging way of getting attention by bullying people even when there was no connection with the public interest.”
The Times reports that Thiel spent as much as $10 million on Hogan’s suit over Gawker’s publishing of a sex tape, which ended with a Florida court awarding the wrestler and actor $140 million in damages.
In 2007, Gawker released an article, “Peter Thiel is totally gay, people,” that outed Thiel and followed up with a series of articles that delved into his and his friend’s private lives. Thiel says those stories “ruined people’s lives for no reason.”
Since then, he has been plotting a secret campaign against Gawker as felt it was “worth fighting back.” Thiel, the Times reports, has been secretly funding various lawsuits against Gawker for several years aimed at crippling the media company’s finances.
“I can defend myself. Most of the people they attack are not people in my category. They usually attack less prominent, far less wealthy people that simply can’t defend themselves,” Thiel told the Times. He added that “even someone like Terry Bollea [aka Hulk Hogan], who is a millionaire and famous and a successful person, didn’t quite have the resources to do this alone.”
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