Silicon Valley billionaire and eBay cofounder Pierre Omidyar is lining up support for Gawker's appeal to overturn the $140 million judgment in the Hulk Hogan lawsuit, reports the New York Post.
While the report doesn't say if Omidyar is providing financial support to Gawker, First Look Media is filing a "friend of the court" brief and is trying to rally other media organizations around Gawker's cause — turning any appeal into a free-speech issue.
This news comes just days after fellow Silicon Valley billionaire and PayPal cofounder Peter Thiel confirmed that he was a financial backer of Hogan's lawsuit against Gawker.
Photos from the case:
With the $140 million judgment hanging over its head, Gawker founder Nick Denton is said to be exploring a sale of the company.
Omidyar and Thiel have a history. Omidyar was the founder of eBay, and Thiel was a cofounder of PayPal, which first took off as a way for eBay traders to pay for auction items. eBay eventually bought PayPal, and a lot of former PayPal execs — including Thiel — left. Many later criticized eBay for failing to innovate with the payment system, and eBay spun it back out last year.
Omidyar is the creator and chief financier of First Look Media, the company that owns and operates The Intercept, a journalism venture headed by former Guardian reporter Glenn Greenwald, made famous in the wake of the Snowden leaks.
"The First Amendment inspires everything we do," says First Look's mission statement.
When news of Thiel's involvement in the Gawker case came to light, Omidyar criticized Thiel and his support of presumptive Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump on Twitter:
So Thiel agrees with Trump's plan to muzzle press that criticizes government, obviously. That's why he supports him? https://t.co/YsYFSV7emR
First Look did not immediately respond to a request for comment.