Peter Thiel Rehashes Battle With Gawker

Back in 2007, Gawker posted an article titled “Peter Thiel is totally gay, people.” Author Owen Thomas, also gay, described Thiel as the smartest venture capitalist in the world and explained why his sexual preference was even remotely important:

"Like the immigrant Jews who created Hollywood a century ago, a gay investor has no way to fit into the old establishment. That frees him or her to build a different, hopefully better system for identifying and rewarding talented individuals, and unleashing their work on the world."

While the article seemed to go relatively unnoticed at the time of its publication, people close to Thiel assured that the co-founder of Paypal Holdings Inc PYPL and first outside investor at Facebook Inc FB, as well as his loved ones, who were subject of other follow-up articles suffered from this gossip – especially given the fact that Thiel had not disclosed his alleged homosexuality to the public.

Don’t Mess With The Hulk

Wrestler Hulk Hogan (Terry Bollea) was awarded $140 million by a Florida jury, after a trial against Gawker for invasion of privacy.

Thiel contributed about $10 million for Hogan’s lawsuit. In fact, the famed venture capitalist had previously put together a team of lawyers that helped other “victims” of Gawker get justice.

“It’s less about revenge and more about specific deterrence… I saw Gawker pioneer a unique and incredibly damaging way of getting attention by bullying people even when there was no connection with the public interest,” Thiel declared on Wednesday.

“I refuse to believe that journalism means massive privacy violations,” he added. “I think much more highly of journalists than that. It’s precisely because I respect journalists that I do not believe they are endangered by fighting back against Gawker.”

The New York Times explained, “the revelation this week that Mr. Thiel was covertly backing Mr. Bollea’s case as well as others has raised a series of new questions about the First Amendment as well as about the role of big money in the court system — specifically the emerging field of litigation finance, in which third parties like hedge funds and investment firms pay for other people’s lawsuits.”

Gawker’s Comeback

In a couple of articles published Thursday, Gawker responded to Thiel’s allegations.

"The refusal to engage in public relations or access journalism—the refusal to lubricate the flow of venture capital—is usually the mark of an outlet’s credibility. For Thiel and his peers in Silicon Valley, such a refusal amounts to repudiating their way of life."

Image credit: Garry Knight, Flickr

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