Lawmaker pushes back at Peter Thiel's mention of her 'revenge porn' bill

Lawmaker pushes back at Peter Thiel's mention of her 'revenge porn' bill

The lawmaker behind a bill to stop “revenge porn” pushed back Tuesday on tech investor Peter Thiel’s decision to invoke the legislation while defending his controversial legal campaign against Gawker Media.

Thiel is the financial backer behind a lawsuit wrestler from Terry Bollea, better known by the stage name Hulk Hogan, filed against Gawker Media for publishing parts of a sex tape he was featured in.


On Monday, Thiel published a New York Times op-ed invoking Rep. Jackie Speier’s (D-Calif.) bill, which makes sharing a sexually explicit image of someone without their consent punishable by a fine or jail time. He mentioned it in making the case that his backing of the lawsuit was about protecting privacy.

He also claimed the law has been nicknamed “the Gawker Bill,” despite little evidence that such a moniker is in use outside of some conservative circles.

In a statement, Speier rebuffed the suggestion that the bill was crafted with the Gawker case in mind.

The “[Intimate Privacy Protection Act] was not created to address any one case specifically,” she said. “At the core of my legislation is the critical need for the federal government to deter this destructive conduct and to provide victims — no matter who they are — with access to justice.”

And she pushed back against the use of the “Gawker Bill” moniker in Thiel’s piece.

“It is not ‘the Gawker bill’ or the ‘revenge porn bill,’” she said. “It is the Intimate Privacy Protection Act, and it does exactly what its name suggests: protects the intimate privacy of all individuals.”

Thiel is a well-known investor in Silicon Valley, having founded PayPal and been an early backer of Facebook. But his financial support for the wrestler’s case has brought him new attention.

His campaign against Gawker Media began, he says, after one of the company’s blogs published a post that discussed the openly gay investor’s sexuality publicly for the first time. Thiel has been successful in putting Gawker Media in a bind: Bollea’s case put financial pressures on the company that led it to put itself up for sale this week.

The investor is also the most prominent tech industry supporter of Republican presidential nominee Donald TrumpDonald TrumpTrump lawyers to Supreme Court: Jan. 6 committee 'will not be harmed by delay' Two House Democrats announce they won't seek reelection DiCaprio on climate change: 'Vote for people that are sane' MORE. He spoke at the Republican National Convention earlier this year, where he was the first speaker in the history of the party’s gathering to openly discuss being gay.