Updated on March 19 at 1:20 a.m. ET
A Florida jury awarded Hulk Hogan $115 million in his lawsuit against Gawker Media for publishing part of a sex tape of him four years ago, handing the retired pro wrestler a resounding victory as the legal battle moves to the appellate courts.
Jurors found that the New York City-based outlet acted with reckless disregard when publishing the clip and awarded Hogan a hefty sum in compensatory damages: $60 million for emotional distress and $55 million for economic injury. That total could rise when the jury reconvenes to deliberate and award punitive damages.
In his lawsuit, Hogan accused Gawker of violating his privacy by publishing a one-minute and 41-second clip from a sex tape between him and a friend’s wife. Hogan said had been recorded without his knowledge or consent in 2007. He also sued the woman and her husband over the tape’s release; the two sides settled out of court.
Gawker said an anonymous source mailed them the tape years later, which then-editor-in-chief A.J. Daulerio published in 2012 with the title, “Even for a Minute, Watching Hulk Hogan Have Sex in a Canopy Bed Is Not Safe for Work but Watch It Anyway.” (Editors later excised the footage from the post, but not before it had been viewed five million times.)