Sunday, January 21, 2018
Business

Hulk Hogan sues Gawker again, this time over leak of racist remarks

ST. PETERSBURG — Former pro wrestler Hulk Hogan has sued Gawker again, saying the gossip website leaked sealed court documents with a transcript that quoted him making racist remarks.

The new lawsuit Monday by Hogan, whose real name is Terry Bollea, comes on the heels of winning a $140 million verdict against Gawker after it posted a video of him having sex with his then-best friend's wife.

Gawker denies that it leaked the sealed transcript to the National Enquirer. In the transcript, Bollea, who is white, makes several racist statements about his daughter's ex-boyfriend, who is black. Once the Enquirer published the story, WWE severed its longtime ties with the famous wrestler.

The suit in Pinellas County Court also accuses a talent agent, two disc jockeys, a radio company and a lawyer of conspiring to send media outlets the sex tape and causing Bollea emotional distress and economic harm.

"Mr. Bollea said from the beginning that he would seek to hold all persons and entities fully responsible for their wrongful actions," his spokeswoman, Elizabeth Traub, wrote in a statement. "This lawsuit seeks to do just that."

The court filing was the latest chapter in a long legal saga for Bollea, Gawker and others.

"This is getting ridiculous," Gawker wrote in a statement. "Hulk Hogan is a litigious celebrity abusing the court system to control his public image and media coverage. … It's time for Hulk Hogan to take responsibility for his own words, because the only person who got Hulk Hogan fired from the WWE is Hulk Hogan."

Bollea first sued Gawker after it posted a 2007 video of him having sex with Heather Clem, his then-best friend's wife. Bollea said he didn't know he was being taped by local shock jock Bubba the Love Sponge Clem. During the Gawker trial, Bollea mournfully described how Clem betrayed his trust.

In March, a Pinellas County jury sided with Bollea and awarded him $115 million in compensatory damages plus an added $25 million in punitive damages. Gawker is seeking a new trial, saying the jury didn't hear all of the evidence or from Clem.

Monday's lawsuit also names Tampa radio DJs Mike "Cowhead" Calta and ex-DJ Matt "Spice Boy" Loyd, among others.

Bollea says Calta and Loyd wanted to cause him "substantial economic harm" while furthering their broadcasting careers while they worked at Cox Radio, which is also named in the suit.

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