Peter Thiel: Gawker was a 'sociopathic bully'

Peter Thiel: Gawker was a 'sociopathic bully'
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Billionaire venture capitalist Peter Thiel on Monday defended his crusade to financially hobble and eventually destroy Gawker Media, saying at the National Press Club that it was a unique case.

“Part of my thought was, again, they were a singularly sociopathic bully,” Thiel, a prominent Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpConway defends herself against Hatch Act allegations amid threat of subpoena How to defuse Gulf tensions and avoid war with Iran Trump says 'stubborn child' Fed 'blew it' by not cutting rates MORE supporter, said during a Q&A session. “My view is that other journalists, other media organizations were not remotely in the same ballpark.”

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Thiel, a co-founder of PayPal who was outted by Gawker, was the financial backer of wrestler Hulk Hogan’s lawsuit against the website for publishing parts of a sex tape he had recorded.

Hogan won a large judgment in a Florida court. Although Gawker appealed, the judgment bankrupted the company. It was sold to Univision earlier this year, and the new owners are no longer operating the Gawker website.

Thiel argued that he believed that even wealthy people like Hogan, whose real name is Terry Bollea, have trouble waging their cases in court.

“And one of the striking things is that if you’re middle class, if you’re upper-middle class, if you’re a single-digit millionaire like Hulk Hogan, you have no effective access to your legal system," he said. "It costs too much."

He also responded to questions about why he had kept his involvement in the case secret until this year.

“You know, we can debate about whether the more appropriate thing for me would have been to be transparent about funding it all the way through,” he said.

“But my judgment was that Mr. Hogan deserved to have his day in court and that that would have distracted from his day in court.”

Thiel made the comments after a speech in which he defended his support of Trump, which has drawn raised eyebrows and condemnation from people in the tech industry.