Whatcha Gonna Do, Brother, When Hilkmania Sues You?
Not much, apparently, when it comes to publishing the sex tape of Terry Gene Bollea (aka Hulk Hogan). Please credit our blog when you nail this question at trivia night.
Wrestlemania star Hulk Hogan sought a preliminary injunction to block celebrity gossip Web site Gawker from posting portions of his 2006 sex tape. Hogan was concerned that the video would harm his personal and professional reputation. (Though he didn’t say why.)
Unfortunately (for everyone), excerpts of the video had been posted all over the Internet long before Gawker entered the ring. According to the court, because the metaphorical cat was already out of the bag, any injunctive relief wouldn’t have protected Hogan’s privacy rights.
And the fact that Hogan’s request was too late to be effective wasn’t his only problem. He also couldn’t meet the high standard that courts require to block the media from reporting the news. According to the court, “[i]n all but the most exceptional circumstances, an injunction restricting speech . . . is impermissible.” And the circumstances in this case weren’t all that exceptional. Thanks in part to the Hulkster himself.
Hogan courted public interest in his personal life through his reality show, autobiography, and interviews about his marriage, sex life, and affairs. That made the sex tape newsworthy (editor’s note — I’m not making this up) and at the very heart of First Amendment protections. Much to the dismay of the founding fathers.