Peter Thiel on Gawker: 'If I didn't do something, nobody would'

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Before you go close icon

Thiel vs. Gawker



Billionaire Silicon Valley investor Peter Thiel said he secretly financed Hulk Hogan's lawsuit against Gawker Media, in an effort to put the news website out of business, The New York Times reported.

In an interview published Wednesday, Thiel said "it was worth fighting back" against the outlet which, in 2007, published an article entitled "Peter Thiel is totally gay, people."

SEE ALSO: Judge will not reduce $140 million in damages Gawker has to pay Hulk Hogan

Thiel, who co-founded PayPal and sits on Facebook's board of directors, provided millions of dollars for Hogan's lawsuit and is apparently funding other cases.

The Times' Andrew Ross Sorkin noted that Thiel declined to reveal what other cases he supported.

"It's less about revenge and more about specific deterrence," Thiel told the newspaper in his first interview since the rumors that he funded the lawsuit reached a tipping point on Tuesday.

"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," Thiel said.

In a widely publicized privacy lawsuit this year, a Florida jury awarded Hulk Hogan $140 million in damages from Gawker for publishing a sex tape in 2013 in which the former wrestler was featured. Neither the jury nor the public knew of Thiel's involvement in the case.

RELATED: See photos related to the case

2 PHOTOS
Hulk Hogan sex tape lawsuit
See Gallery
Peter Thiel on Gawker: 'If I didn't do something, nobody would'
ST PETERSBURG, FL - MARCH 07: Terry Bollea, aka Hulk Hogan, testifies in his case against the website Gawker at the Pinellas County Courthouse March 7, 2016 in St. Petersburg, Florida. Bollea is taking legal action against Gawker in a USD 100 million lawsuit for releasing a video of him having sex with his best friends wife. (Photo by Boyzell Hosey-Pool/Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

Thiel told The Times he has been planning for years to secretly fund lawsuits against Gawker in an effort to shut the company down. The website publishes articles that "ruined people's lives for no reason," he said.

"One of my friends convinced me that if I didn't do something, nobody would," he added.

"Most of the people they attack are not in my category. They usually attack less prominent, far less wealthy people that simply can't defend themselves."

Gawker founder Nick Denton denounced Thiel's involvement in the lawsuit in a statement to The Times:

"Just because Peter Thiel is a Silicon Valley billionaire, his opinion does not trump our millions of readers who know us for routinely driving big news stories including Hillary Clinton's secret email account, Bill Cosby's history with women, the mayor of Toronto as a crack smoker, Tom Cruise's role within Scientology, the N.F.L. cover-up of domestic abuse by players and just this month the hidden power of Facebook to determine the news you see."

In another blow to Gawker on Wednesday, a Florida judge refused to overturnthe $140 million verdict against the news site.

The case will now go to a court of appeals. In a statement, Gawker said it hoped the appeals court will "correct" the verdict and "reaffirm the law that protects a free and critical press, which is more embattled and important than ever."

Read the full report from The New York Times

NOW WATCH: Billionaire entrepreneur Peter Thiel explains precisely how Mark Zuckerberg changed the world

See Also:

Read Full Story

Want more news like this?

Sign up for Finance Report by AOL and get everything from business news to personal finance tips delivered directly to your inbox daily!

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.

From Our Partners

If You Find One Of These In Your Yard, Don't Touch It - And Try Not To Panic If You Find One Of These In Your Yard, Don't Touch It - And Try Not To Panic
Don't Get Too Close To a Newborn Giraffe Unless You Want to Get Kicked in the Nuts Don't Get Too Close To a Newborn Giraffe Unless You Want to Get Kicked in the Nuts
Cops Catch Up To A Suspicious Speeding Vehicle - And Make An Appalling Discovery Inside Cops Catch Up To A Suspicious Speeding Vehicle - And Make An Appalling Discovery Inside