Hulk Hogan Sex Tape Trial: Gawker Attorneys Say Wrestler Openly Discussed Sex Life
During a cross examination of Hulk Hogan, who is suing Gawker Media for $100 million for posting a clip of a sex tape involving the wrestler, defense attorneys attempted to show that the wrestler has promoted himself by publicly discussing his sex life and other intimate topics.
Gawker attorney Michael Sullivan cited a litany of examples, including a television appearance before the sex tape was public when he discussed what was then just a rumor of a tape involving him and a then-unidentified brunette woman. In the clip, Hogan jokes that he had been with several brunette women at around that time, saying, “I had about four-and-a-half months that I really went crazy. I actually wrote that in my book – I was staying drunk and crazy. I was really out of my mind for a while.”
Sullivan also brought up Hogan’s discussion of an extramarital affair in his autobiography. He cited his wrestling days when he would allegedly pull a competitor’s pants down. And he played a clip from Hogan’s reality television show Hogan Knows Best, in which Hogan is shown on the toilet with his pants at his ankles.
In response to Sullivan’s question about whether Hogan considered the clip of him on the toilet an invasion of his privacy, Hogan responded, “No. I’m on a TV show. There are certain artistic liberties you take when you’re in character.”
Later, he tried to underscore a distinction between his public persona and private life, saying, “I’m trying to help you understand: When I leave my house, everybody thinks I’m Hulk Hogan. But in the privacy of my own home, I’m Terry Bollea.”
Hogan, 62, is going by his legal name, Terry Bollea, at the trial. He claims his privacy was violated when Gawker posted a portion of a video in 2012 showing him having sex with heather Heather Clem, the former wife of his then-friend Todd Clem, a.k.a. Bubba the Love Sponge, a radio shock jock, who filmed the encounter.
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Sullivan questioned Hogan about rumors that he might have staged the tape as a publicity stunt. Hogan said that he received offers to do pornography, but said, “I would never do that to my personal life.”
When asked why he hadn’t sued other media outlets, which printed articles about the sex tape or posted still shots of it, Hogan said, “The problem came when Gawker posted the video… We asked for a cease and desist, they played it for months and months.”
During his testimony Monday, Hogan said he had “bottomed out” in life and “just gave in and let my guard down” at the time of the sexual encounter.
“A lot of things were happening at the same time,” he said. “I was trying unsuccessfully to get my wife back. She told me verbally over and over, ‘You’re too old, you’re too slow, you don’t turn me on. I want to find somebody younger.’ ”
Gawker has based its defense on the First Amendment. A statement to PEOPLE by the company reads: “Hulk Hogan bragged about his sex life for years, denied this particular sexual encounter and now thinks his own choices are worth $100 million somehow.”
Hogan’s attorney, David Houston, told PEOPLE last week, “Gawker is exploiting the First Amendment so that they can do whatever they want to whomever they desire,” Nevada attorney David Houston tells PEOPLE. “This lawsuit was filed to draw a line in the sand – a line that had to be drawn.”
• Reporting by DEVAN LESLEY