A temporary order banning the Gawker website from posting excerpts from a sex tape with professional wrestler Hulk Hogan should be reversed, Florida's 2nd District Court of Appeal said in a ruling issued Friday.
Gawker wrote about and posted a sex video of Hogan and Heather Clem, ex-wife of radio shock jock Bubba the Love Sponge Clem. The video was taken without Hogan's knowledge, according to court records.
Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge Pamela Campbell issued a temporary injunction in April 2013 saying Gawker should remove both the video and an accompanying written description.
But Gawker fought back in court. The appeals court decision notes that under the First Amendment, which guarantees the right to free speech, there are only narrow circumstances in which someone can be ordered in advance not to publish something.
The appeals court also said that because of publicity about the sex tape — which was partly "exacerbated" by Hogan himself — the video excerpts and a Gawker report about it "address matters of public concern."
The court's decision on the tape of Hogan, whose real name is Terry Bollea, also said: "Mr. Bollea failed to meet the heavy burden to overcome the presumption that the temporary injunction is invalid as an unconstitutional prior restraint under the First Amendment."
Staff Writer Jon Silman contributed to this report