6:38pm PT by THR staff
Silicon Valley Billionaire Has Been Funding Hulk Hogan's Gawker Lawsuits (Report)
Paypal cofounder Peter Thiel has been secretly funding Hulk Hogan's lawsuits against Gawker Media, Forbes is reporting.
According to the report, which cites anonymous sources, the well-known Silicon Valley investor, who was one of the earliest backers of Facebook and now runs Thiel Capital, has been paying the bills in the lawsuits Hogan (aka Terry Bollea) has brought against the online media news organization.
After three and a half years of litigation surrounding the publication of a private 2012 sex tape, Hogan was awarded $140 million in March. The influential defamation case was a landmark for celebrity's privacy and rights.
Gawker is currently appealing the case and Hogan filed a second lawsuit against the company in May.
On Monday, Gawker's founder, Nick Denton, addressed speculation from the Florida trial that Hogan and the wrestler's lead attorney, Charles Harder, had a benefactor.
“My own personal hunch is that it’s linked to Silicon Valley, but that’s nothing really more than a hunch,” Denton told The New York Times. “If you’re a billionaire and you don’t like the coverage of you, and you don’t particularly want to embroil yourself any further in a public scandal, it’s a pretty smart, rational thing to fund other legal cases.”
When reached by Forbes, Denton said he did not know of Thiel's involvement but that he had "heard that name" along with others.
A spokesman for Thiel declined to comment for the Forbes article.
Hogan could not be immediately reached for comment by THR.