In 2012, Gawker published clips of Hogan having sex with his friend’s wife. Bollea, who claims he did not know hidden cameras were filming him, told a St. Petersburg, Fla., jury on Tuesday that Gawker refused to take down the video after he sent a cease-and-desist letter.
“When we tried to get Gawker to take it down, they wouldn’t take it down,” said Bollea, who wore the same black outfit as the previous day. “It just kept fueling it.”
On Monday, Bollea’s attorney said the video garnered 2.5 million views on Gawker’s site, and noted that part of the company’s “editorial policy” is to “bully” celebrities.
Bollea, 62, explained that other sites, upon receiving cease-and-desist letters, took down their links to Gawker’s highlight reel, which was one minute and 40 seconds long.
“It totally flipped my world upside down,” the former WWE wrestler said, referring to the published clip. “This tape totally sabotaged me.”
Unable to eat or sleep, Bollea noted that he had begun to turn his life around after a public divorce in 2007 and a handful of negative news stories.
“I was concerned because there were people who thought I had something to do with this,” he said of the sex tape. “If I was in this thing to make money, there were all these offers out there….I would never do that to my personal life.”
Despite Bollea’s claims of suffering emotional distress, Gawker’s lawyers pointed out that the entertainer still kept many of his personal appearances. The attorney singled out his interview with Howard Stern on the host’s radio show, to which Bollea offered that the show is an opportunity “to change the game for you” as an entertainer.
On that particular show, Bollea, who professed to “remaining in character” when he appears in public, discussed the sex tape, his penis size and his daughter’s sexuality.
Bollea is suing Gawker Media for $100 million, alleging the media company violated his right to privacy among other things. Gawker, in its defense, has invoked freedom of the press rights. One point at issue is how privacy rights apply to celebrities versus private individuals, as well as what is deemed “newsworthy.”