How much is a Hulk Hogan sex tape worth? That's the question one Portlander had to answer in a Florida courtroom last month.
Peter Horan, a Portland tech investor, was called as an expert witness in the civil trial of Hogan's lawsuit against Gawker Media for invading his privacy by posting the video. The jury awarded the professional wrestler $140 million in damages.
Horan argued as a witness for Gawker, testifying that the video was worth far less than the $55 million in economic damages Hogan sought. WW asked him about his work.
WW: Did you watch the full video?
Peter Horan: I did not. Beyond being distasteful, it wasn't relevant to the analysis that I was doing.
How much did Gawker make from posting the video?
Hogan was filing his suit based on the claim that the website was nothing before gaining attention from the video. This really was a relatively insignificant event in the life of Gawker. A month before this, they ran a topless picture of Kate Middleton. They cover gossip; this is just one in a series of hits. The video added less than $100,000 to the total value of Gawker.
Why did the jury disagree?
I believe that the jury wanted to send a message that they don't enjoy gossip and are concerned about media invading people's privacy. They were reacting as if they had been the ones seen in that videotape.
What are the ramifications of this ruling for First Amendment rights?
It is important to think of this case as a First Amendment case because this could affect the way all public figures are covered. People say they are in favor of freedom of speech, but seem to really only feel this way if it is high-minded and not embarrassing. Freedom of the press should cover more than just high-minded things.