In Court

PayPal co-founder reportedly funding Hulk Hogan suit against Gawker

In this March 8, 2012 file photo, Peter Thiel speaks in San Francisco.

In this March 8, 2012 file photo, Peter Thiel speaks in San Francisco.  (AP Photo/Ben Margot, File)

Peter Thiel, a co-founder of PayPal and an early investor in Facebook, has been financing wrestler Hulk Hogan's ongoing lawsuit against Gawker Media, according to a report.

According to Forbes, Thiel has "played a lead role in bankrolling the cases" Hogan, also known as Terry Bollea, brought against Gawker. Thiel had no immediate comment on the report.

The Forbes report claims that Thiel has long resented Gawker after it attempted to out him as gay in 2007. Thiel, who is gay, was not open about his sexuality at that point. 

Two years later, Thiel told an interviewer that Gawker's now-defunct site Valleywag, which focused on Silicon Valley news and gossip, was "the Silicon Valley equivalent of Al Qaeda" and had the "psychology of a terrorist."

On Tuesday, Gawker founder Nick Denton told The New York Times that he suspected Hogan's lawsuit had a third-party backer, adding that he had a "personal hunch" a tech mogul was involved.

"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," Denton said. 

Hogan sued Gawker for $100 million after the company's flagship site of the same name, posted a video of Hogan having sex with his friend's wife. Hogan claimed it was a violation of his privacy. 

In March, a Florida jury awarded Hogan $115 million for economic injuries and emotion distress, as well as an additional $25 million in punitive damages. Gawker is currently appealing the verdict.

It is unclear whether Thiel will receive any share of the proceeds from the jury award. 

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