Friday, June 12, 2015

"Gawker in the fight of its life with Hulk Hogan sex-tape suit"

Sometimes the headline just writes itself.
And sometimes you leave it (and the story that follows) to Capital New York:

Nick Denton is preparing for the biggest fight of his life. The Gawker Media founder and C.E.O.'s opponent: celebrated professional wrestler Hulk Hogan (real name: Terry Bollea), who sued Denton and Gawker in 2012 after the gossip blog published a supercut of his sex tape and refused to take it down. The case has seen numerous twists and turns over the past three years, but it’s finally set to come to trial in Pinellas County, Fla.—where Hogan lives—on July 6.

Denton faces a judge and jury who are skeptical of, if not outright hostile to, his blog empire and philosophy of reporting the “story behind the story,” and some inside Gawker say that they expect the company to lose the case. A loss, and an award of even a fraction of the $100 million Hogan’s attorneys are seeking, could empty the company’s coffers, forcing Denton to either sell the company outright or to hand much of its equity over to deep-pocketed investors.

Denton was frank about the situation in a tense all-hands editorial meeting on June 4 in Gawker’s Nolita headquarters. Denton was his usual charming and irreverent self as he addressed a number of customary challenges facing the company—including issues with the company's content platform, Kinja, and soft display advertising sales. But he was at turns apologetic and defiant when it came time to discuss the lawsuit. Denton warned staff that the legal battle posed a threat to the company’s fundamental operating principles: its longstanding independence from the demands of venture capitalists and big-media ownership....MORE