I watched a little bit of Nick Denton’s (Gawker Media’s publisher and majority shareholder) testimony this morning, which has been a bit rougher than yesterday’s. I suppose that’s because Hulk Hogan’s attorneys have been going at him instead of the Gawker team. Follow along for a recap of today’s events after the stream link.


“With the benefit of hindsight, I believe [the Hogan post] stands the test of time,” said Denton. “Judging it as a reader and as a former working journalist, [editor and writer A.J. Daulerio] clarified the situation and added new information about the participants of that evening. He made a contrast between an American icon and the man behind the icon. And he made a self-critical point about the public’s obsession with celebrity sex tapes and his own interest.”

Denton added he was comfortable with publishing a video excerpt. “There were passages that made me uncomfortable,” he said. “But as a whole, it was newsworthy, interesting and advanced our understanding.”…

Hogan attorney Ken Turkel brought an angry cross-examination that focused on Denton’s standard for news (if it’s true and interesting, it runs). At times, Turkel attempted to ridicule Denton. For example, concerning the Gizmodo iPhone story, Turkel pointed out that Denton had paid $5,000 for a prototype that had gone missing from Apple.

“At the end of the day, what you call a scoop was a story about stolen property, right?” Turkel asked.

“You can see it that way if you want,” Denton responded.

“Let’s talk for a lack of a better word, your philosophy on privacy,” said Turkel, bringing up a 2013 interview published here (“Gawker’s Nick Denton Explains Why Invasion of Privacy Is Positive for Society“) as well as another interview with Playboy where Denton addressed privacy by stating, “I don’t think people give a fuck, actually” and “Every infringement of privacy is sort of liberating.”

Denton told the jury that he was embarrassed he had used the F-word, but hardly backed down from his perspective. “I think being our true selves, being open to our colleagues and friends and family, my personal view is that we are happier as a result,” he said. “I appreciate that not everyone shares my view.”

The gap between a person’s public persona and his or her private behavior is indeed interesting, added Denton, which caused Turkel to seize on this as an attempted justification of the Hogan sex tape post. Denton parried the aggressive questioning. “It was our way to show a highly unusual encounter,” he said.

Turkel asked Denton whether he would be embarrassed if his sex life became fodder for a news story, and the Gawker publisher admitted yes but was hardly giving an inch. Denton said his own sex life would probably be relevant given the stories that had run on his own news site.

In the most awkward part of testimony, Denton was asked to read salacious passages from Gawker’s Hogan story in the “most humanizing way possible.” And so, with a British accent, as gently as Denton could muster, the jury heard a play-by-play of Hogan having sex, lines like: “Then we watch Hulk stand up and clumsily attempt to roll a condom on to his erect penis which, even if it has been ravaged by steroids and middle-age, still appears to be the size of a thermos you’d find in a child’s lunchbox.”

Turkel wanted to entrap Denton by getting him to express some remorse, but Denton resisted the invitation to show any fallibility in publishing the sex tape. 

“I think that a job as a journalist would be unbearable if one were to put on the shoes of the subject,” said Denton.

“Had you known that [Hogan] would have endured tremendous emotional distress as a result of posting the sex tape, you still would have published it, right? Turkel asked.

Denton answered, “Yes, probably.”


Trial starts back up at 1:15 Eastern time.

(Jesus, how is that even possible?)