Bubba the Love Sponge apologizes to Hulk Hogan after lawsuit settlement: was it all a stunt?
A New York publicist has released a statement saying wrestling star Terry "Hulk Hogan" Bollea has reached a settlement with onetime friend and Tampa Bay shock jock Bubba the Love Sponge Clem dropping the radio personality from a lawsuit centered on footage made public from a videotape made of Hogan having sex with Clem's then-wife.
As part of the settlement, Clem played a statement on his show for WHPT-FM (102.5 the Bone) Monday morning apologizing for insulting Hogan and his children, saying "after further investigation" he concluded the wrestler was unaware he was being videotaped in 2006 while having sex with his now-ex-wife, Heather Cole. The terms of the settlement were not made public.
The quick resolution on this lawsuit -- according to the release, Hogan will continue his legal action against Cole and the owner of the website which first published video clips from the footage, Gawker.com -- will likely leave critics accusing the men of colluding on a gigantic publicity stunt.
The dispute between the two men, seemingly sparked by clips published on Gawker.com, generated national headlines, as attorneys for Hogan talked tough from the federal courthouse steps in Tampa and Clem responded by calling his former friend a "hypocritical fraud" on his radio show.
Stephen Diaco, a Tampa attorney who is close to Clem and often serves as his personal counsel, would only say that the matter with Hogan "has been resolved." According to the press release, Clem is expected to replay his apology on Tuesday's show.
Critics say both men could use the headlines generated by their public fight, which might be an attempt to earn money on the footage via Hogan's $100 million lawsuit against Gawker and boost ratings for Clem's show. But the pair also have faced lots of ridicule online for revealing that Clem allowed the wrestler to have sex with his wife early in their marriage.
Here is the text of the apology, as provided by the publicist.
Re: Public Apology to Hulk Hogan (Terry Bollea) and Retraction of Statements
After further investigation, I am now convinced that Hulk Hogan was unaware of the presence of the recording device in my bedroom. I am convinced he had no knowledge that he was being taped. Additionally, I am certain that he had no role in the release of the video. It is my belief that Terry is not involved, and has not ever been involved, in trying to release the video, or exploit it, or otherwise gain from the video's release in any way. Regrettably, when Hulk filed the lawsuit against me, I instinctively went on the offensive. The things that I said about him and his children were not true. I was wrong and I am deeply sorry for my reaction, and for the additional pain that it caused Hulk and his children on top of the pain that they already were feeling from having learned that Terry was taped without his knowledge, and the public release of the video.
I am committed to helping Hulk and his attorneys find whoever is responsible for the release of the tape and holding them accountable to the fullest extent of the law.
Here are a few excerpts from the press release sent out this morning:
"Terry Gene Bollea, professionally known as “Hulk Hogan,” has settled his claims against Bubba the Love Sponge Clem aka Todd Alan Clem. The terms of the settlement are confidential."
"'Mr. Bollea is pleased that Mr. Clem finally stated the truth and apologized for his false statements,' said Mr. Bollea’s personal litigation attorney, David R. Houston of Reno, Nevada."
"Hulk Hogan’s $100 million lawsuit against Gawker Media in the U.S. District Court remains pending and no aspect of that lawsuit has been resolved or settled. Hulk Hogan’s Motion for Preliminary Injunction is pending and will be heard by the Court shortly.
Hulk Hogan’s claims against Heather Clem in Florida state court also remain pending.
Both lawsuits seek damages for invasion of privacy and related claims in connection with the secret taping of Mr. Hogan in a private bedroom engaged in private, consensual intimate relations, and the unauthorized publication of that tape."