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Gawker might have its own Silicon Valley ally in Hulk Hogan legal fight

Nick Denton, founder of Gawker.John Pendygraft/Pool

Earlier this week, billionaire tech investor Peter Thiel confirmed he was backing Hulk Hogan’s lawsuit against Gawker Media. Today, we find out that Gawker has a billionaire tech ally of its own.

First Look Media, an organization launched by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar, is rallying around the parent company of the gossip site in its high-priced legal battle with the former wrestling star.

In a statement to the Globe Friday afternoon, a lawyer for First Look Media said the company is soliciting amicus briefs after becoming alarmed by the potential cost for Gawker to appeal a $140 million judgment against it for publishing a 2007 sex tape of Hogan.


“The possibility that Gawker may have to post a bond for $50 million or more just to be able to pursue its right to appeal the jury’s verdict raises serious concerns about press freedom,” First Look Media General Counsel Lynn Oberlander said.

Under Florida law, Gawker could be made to pay $50 million of the $140 million judgment while it appeals the case, according to Politico.

“In keeping with our mission to protect the First Amendment, First Look Media is now organizing an amicus effort around these concerns, and we will be paying close attention as this case moves into its appeals phase,” she said.

Amicus briefs, also known as “friend of the court” briefs, allow those with an interest in a case’s outcome to present their point of view. The effort was first reported by the New York Post.

The news comes days after Thiel, a PayPal co-founder and Facebook investor, confirmed he was bankrolling Hogan’s lawsuit.

A Florida jury awarded Hogan $140 million in damages for invasion of privacy in March, and a judge this week denied Gawker’s request for a new trial.


Christina Prignano can be reached at christina.prignano@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @cprignano.