Peter Thiel’s Secret War Against Gawker

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Forbes provides some interesting dirt on Hulk Hogan’s libel suit against Gawker:

Peter Thiel, a PayPal cofounder and one of the earliest backers of Facebook, has been secretly covering the expenses for Hulk Hogan’s lawsuits against online news organization Gawker Media….During court proceedings, which ended in late March with a $140 million victory for Hogan, there had been rumors that a wealthy individual had funded Hogan’s case though there was never any hard evidence that surfaced to prove that was true.

….Money may not have been the main motivation in the first place. Thiel, who is gay, has made no secret of his distaste for Gawker, which attempted to out him in late 2007 before he was open about his sexuality. In 2009, Thiel told PEHub that now-defunct Silicon Valley-focused publication Valleywag, which was owned by Gawker, had the “psychology of a terrorist.”

Mother Jones has had its own recent run-in with a zillionaire who tried to sue us into oblivion, so maybe I’m biased. But I’d like to hear a little more about this from the folks who think that safe spaces and campus protests are harbingers of doom for the First Amendment. You know what could really hurt a free press? Mega-millionaires who know that defending a suit can easily put a small publication out of business, and don’t really care much if they win or lose. For them, a few million dollars is chump change anyway. And if they can do it secretly? All the better.

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ONE MORE QUICK THING:

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If you’re reading this, a fundraising pitch at the bottom of an article, you must find our team’s reporting valuable and we hope you’ll consider supporting it with a donation of any amount right now if you can.

It’s really that simple. But if you’d like to read a bit more, our membership lead, Brian Hiatt, has a post for you highlighting some of our newsroom's impressive, impactful work of late—including two big investigations in just one day and covering voting rights the way it needs to be done—that we hope you’ll agree is worth supporting.

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