Gawker CEO Nick Denton will file for personal bankruptcy on Monday to protect himself from Hulk Hogan’s $140 million judgment, according to Law360, which cites people familiar with the matter.
This comes after a judge in Florida denied Denton’s request for an emergency order to stop Hogan from collecting while Denton appeals, according to the New York Daily News.
Denton is personally liable for $10 million of the judgment, and jointly liable for a further $115 million.
“On this bitter day for me, I am consoled by the fact that my colleagues will soon be freed from this tech billionaire’s vendetta,” Denton wrote in a tweet, though he has yet to confirm that he’s personally filing for bankruptcy.
In June, Gawker Media filed for Chapter 11, in a move that allowed Gawker to avoid having its assets seized while it continues to appeal the verdict.
“Even with his billions, Thiel will not silence our writers. Our sites will thrive — under new ownership — and we’ll win in court,” Denton said in a tweet at the time.
Gawker has continued to publish, pay its staff, and appeal the verdict since.
In the meantime, Gawker has been put up for auction. Denton tweeted that the sale will close in “the next few weeks.” Publisher Ziff Davis had made an opening bid to buy Gawker for $90 million.
Ziff Davis, which is now helmed by Vivek Shah, the former Time Inc. exec, currently owns and runs a portfolio of publications including IGN, PCMag, and AskMen.
The money Gawker gets from the auction will go into a fund, which will be used for future legal costs and any eventual damages, according to The Journal. If any money is left after the litigation concludes (i.e., if Gawker wins), it will go to Denton as well as Gawker’s investors.
In March, Hogan was awarded $140 million in damages stemming from a Gawker news article published in 2012, which included a clip of Hulk Hogan having sex, along with commentary.
It was revealed in late May that billionaire Silicon Valley investor Peter Thiel had secretly financed Hulk Hogan’s lawsuit and others against Gawker Media in an effort to put the website out of business.
“I saw Gawker pioneer a unique and incredibly damaging way of getting attention by bullying people even when there was no connection with the public interest,” Thiel, whom Gawker reportedly outed as gay in 2007, told The New York Times.
Gawker Media was handed a legal loss in May, when a judge in Florida denied Gawker’s motion for a new trial. That meant the damages would not be reduced. The judge also on Friday denied Gawker’s request for a stay, according to Politico.
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