In March 2016, former pro wrestler Terry Boella, better known to wrestling fans as Hulk Hogan, won a $140 million lawsuit against online media firm Gawker Media. This lawsuit started when Gawker allegedly extorted Hogan over a sex tape release. Now, anonymous sources are saying one Silicon Valley maverick financially supported Hogan’s cause.
That maverick is PayPal co-founder, Facebook backer and Founders Fund creator Peter Thiel. Theil’s people stay silent about these rumors. But Peter Thiel is a well known First Amendment advocate. And this case violated Hogan’s rights in vile ways. But it wasn’t just the First Amendment or his admiration for Hogan that allegedly made Thiel champion Hogan’s cause. According to a Forbes magazine article, Gawker tried to oust him back in 2007. Two years later, Thiel said Gawker Media and their franchises (like the now defunct Valleywag Silicon Valley publication), “… had the psychology of terrorists.” Even Gawker founder Nick Denton hinted Theil’s hatred of Gawker probably contributed to him paying Hogan’s legal fees in this lawsuit. Valleywag had a reputation for exposing lifestyles in Silicon Valley, the very opposite of what this multi-billionaire believes in.
Maybe the saying is true…an enemy of the enemy can make a really good friend. I’ve even seen pictures of Thiel speaking on Hogan’s behalf. But I think something even deeper is happening. I grew up in the ‘Hulkamania’ era. I remember when Hulk Hogan was an American hero for us kids. But in the last 10 years, it hasn’t been the case. Think of what this man has endured: a bitter divorce, a son in jail, a sex tape scandal, this lawsuit, a racial scandal that got him permanently barred from WWE, the very company he helped turn into a global powerhouse. Hogan could use a friend right now. From the looks of it, Thiel is that friend. I hope this potential friendship goes beyond this lawsuit. I hope Thiel’s positive influence can help Hogan get on the comeback trail. What do you think of this new partnership?