Nick Denton, the British expatriate who independently founded Gawker Media in 2002 and has served as its chief executive officer for its entire 14-year history, filed today for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the Southern District of New York.
In March, a Florida jury found him culpable of invading the wrestler Hulk Hogan’s privacy, nearly four years after this website published excerpts of a tape in which Hogan can be seen having sex with Heather Clem, the wife of Hogan’s ex-best-friend, the Tampa-area radio shock jock Bubba the Love Sponge. The filing comes after several attempts on Denton’s part to temporarily halt the enforcement of the $140,100,000 verdict that jury handed down.
Denton is personally responsible for $10 million, and jointly responsible, along with former Gawker editor A.J. Daulerio, and Gawker Media itself, for $115 million. Chapter 11 bankruptcy will prevent Hogan, whose real name is Terry Bollea, from draining Denton’s bank accounts or seizing any of his assets. Gawker Media filed under the Chapter 11 statute in early June for the same reason. Both moves are intended to lay the groundwork for the company’s appeal of the jury’s verdict, in Florida’s Second District.
Daulerio, who published the excerpts of the Hogan tape and adjacent commentary about its contents, is personally on the hook for an additional $100,000 in damages. At the trial, he told jurors he had a negative net worth, due to outstanding student loans. In an email to Gawker, he confirmed that he plans to file for bankruptcy as well.