Hulk Hogan's sex tape lawsuit against Gawker heads to trial
Monday, February 29, 2016 6:30am
ST. PETERSBURG — In 2014, Tampa radio DJ Todd "Bubba the Love Sponge" Clem sat in a lawyer's office, answering questions about a famously unsexy sex tape.
The video footage, taken in 2006, captured Clem's then-best friend, ex-professional wrestler Hulk Hogan, engaged in perfunctory sex with Clem's then-wife. As if this wasn't enough to absorb, the roughly 30-minute video was shot in Clem's bedroom, by Clem, who later testified that he burned it to a DVD, wrote "Hogan" on it, and stashed it in his desk drawer.
According to him, no one was ever supposed to find it.
But years later, that sex tape resurfaced online, published as a one minute and 41 second excerpt by the New York-based news and gossip website Gawker. It is now at the center of a $100 million defamation lawsuit brought by Hogan that goes to trial this week in downtown St. Petersburg, an incongruous setting for a case that primarily interests First Amendment buffs, New York City news media, and wrestling fans.
Here, in a community still known as a retirement destination, a jury of Gawker's peers will decide whether its decision to publish the tape, along with an unfavorable review of the Hulkster's performance, constituted a violation of privacy. READ MORE...