Gawker founder files for bankruptcy after Hulk Hogan suit

Gawker has come under fire for its no-holds-barred approach to celebrity coverage

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Gawker Media founder Nick Denton has filed for personal bankruptcy protection in a bid to stop Hulk Hogan from seizing his assets in a multimillion-dollar sex tape judgment.

The office of the British internet entrepreneur, who controls a 68 percent stake in the news and entertainment website, confirmed the move to AFP. His lawyers gave no further details when asked to comment.

In March, a US jury in Florida ordered that wrestling star Hogan be allowed to collect USD 140 million in total compensation after Gawker published a tape of him having sex with a friend’s wife.

Gawker Media filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in June, also seeking to sidestep a shutdown over the jury’s verdict. Denton estimated his assets at USD 10-15 million, according to a copy of his Chapter 11 individual bankruptcy filing published by Politico.

In a memo to staff, obtained by AFP, Denton appeared upbeat about the prospects of Gawker surviving. After the company filed for bankruptcy, the embattled US media group said it had reached a deal to sell its media brands to publishing group Ziff Davis.

“We can be proud that we survived and prospered as an independent company for more than a decade, and have a second act ahead of us, under the shelter finally of a larger media company,” Denton wrote.

He slammed what he called a “personal vendetta” and called it “disturbing to live in a world in which a billionaire can bully journalists because he didn’t like the coverage,” Denton wrote in the memo to staff.

While Gawker has come under fire for its no-holds-barred approach to celebrity coverage, the case also raised questions about whether powerful interests can use their resources to silence media for unfavorable coverage.

Tech billionaire Peter Thiel acknowledged that he helped fund the litigation. He has feuded for years against Gawker since it “outed” him as a homosexual.

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