The entire media industry is under a massive spotlight right now. The rise of fake news, the vehemently anti-media sentiment being pushed by Trump and a general increase in public interest in the industry's ethics has made journalism a hotly debated topic. And now things are set to heat up even more, with Netflix acquiring the rights to Nobody Speak, a new documentary about Hulk Hogan's lawsuit against Gawker Media.
Netflix is now the proud owner of the global rights to the documentary from Brian Knappenberger. It's set to tell the story of Terrence Gene Bollea, AKA wrestling champion Hulk Hogan, and his triumphant win against sensationalist blog Gawker following the unwanted release of his sex tape.
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Wait, What Happened?
For those not in the know, here's what went down: In 2006, a recently-divorced Hulk Hogan went to visit his good friend Bubba "The Love Sponge" Clem, which somehow ended with Clem encouraging Hogan to have sex with his wife Heather while he waited patiently in the other room. Hogan obliged, but what he didn't know was that Clem was secretly taping the whole thing.
10 years later, the 30 minute sex tape was sent to Gawker Media, who posted a clip of it on their Gawker blog. Hogan sued the crap out of them and won, leaving them bankrupt after one hell of a scandalous court case.
Ready For Some Drama, Brother?
Needless to say, the documentary will be rife scandal, controversy and some serious face-palm moments. Here's what you have to look forward to from the case:
1. Hulk Hogan Talking About Hulk Hogan's Penis
There were some seriously awkward things said in that courtroom, but one of the most bizarre had to be the way Hogan/Bollea cleared up the confusion regarding the size of his alter-ego's penis— which apparently differs in size to his own:
"Terry Bollea's penis is not 10 inches like you're trying to say... Mine isn't that size."
2. Gawker Editor A. J. Daulerio's Awful Comment On Sex Tapes
If you thought that confusing penis talk was weird, then strap yourself in for even more cringe. A. J. Daulerio made some pretty critical errors in his involvement with the tape — a copy of which he still possesses — including publishing the video in the first place.
But perhaps most memorable was the Gawker editor's very poor-taste joke about sex tapes always being newsworthy— unless, of course, it involves a child under the age of four. Even more bizarre than his awful sense of humour is the fact that he chose to crack that joke whilst being questioned and recorded for the case. Really, Daulerio?
3. Gawker's Costly Attitude
Despite the possibility of having to pay $100 million in damages to Hogan, Gawker continued to defend their right to share the sex tape— which, by the way, was recorded without the consent of its subject. They argued that it was their constitutional right to be able to display it on their website.
They were ordered by the court to remove both the video and the disturbingly descriptive play-by-play of the incident they'd written in a blog post. They eventually removed the tape, but kept both the blog post and a link to view the tape externally through another website. They earned around $10,000 from traffic through the video— which paled in comparison to the $140 million they were ordered to pay Hogan.
4. Peter Thiel's Donation
Rumors began to circulate soon after the commencement of the trial about who could be funding Hogan's legal costs, since he clearly wasn't financially capable. Venture Capitalist Peter Thiel soon stepped forward and revealed himself as the generous donor. He wanted to get back at Gawker for outing him as gay on their website, as well as writing disparaging remarks about his friends in an attempt to defame their character.
5. Gawker Being Saved From Ruin— Then Ruined Yet Again
Despite the bold claims that they would easily be able to cover the $100 million settlement, Gawker Media were forced to declare bankruptcy following the trial. A glimmer of hope came in the form of Univision Communications— however, they quickly deemed Gawker.com worthless and shut the site down.
6. The Nasty Fallout With Bubba & Heather Clem
Suffice to say, Heather and Bubba Clem did not stay happily married. Apparently the two can be heard talking on tape about the video being their back-up "retirement" plan; The incident caused a huge rift between them and Hogan, and another lawsuit. As you can see from Twitter, Heather and Bubba aren't quite on civil terms anymore.
Check out the trailer for Knappenberger's last documentary, The Internet's Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz:
(Source: The Hollywood Reporter)