Why the Gawker case could set a dangerous precedent

gawker1-1Gawker’s prob­lems began in October 2012, when the gossip site ran a por­tion of a sex tape fea­turing wrestler Hulk Hogan, which Hogan claimed vio­lated his pri­vacy and infringed on his publicity rights.

It was later revealed that Sil­icon Valley bil­lion­aire Peter Thiel—an out­spoken critic of the website—provided finan­cial backing for Hogan’s suit, which came to a close ear­lier this year, when a Florida court ruled in Hogan’s favor and the jury handed down a $140 mil­lion ver­dict that ulti­mately doomed the media company.

Here, Dan Kennedy, asso­ciate pro­fessor in the School of Jour­nalism and a nation­ally known media com­men­tator, weighs in on the effect of shut­tering the gossip site on the broader media land­scape and the “trou­bling” mechanics behind the suit that served as its demise. Its ter­mi­na­tion, he says, could empower “wealthy inter­ests” to use the legal system to drive media orga­ni­za­tions out of business.

Read the rest at news@Northeastern.