Loading...
BYH to the members of the 514 for going to guard and support our country's illegal international prison at Gitmo in...

Nobody Speak speaks volumes

Knapp

Thomas Knapp

Loading…

Friday, June 30, 2017

When Terry Bollea, aka Hulk Hogan, sued Gawker Media for invasion of privacy, infringement of personality rights, and intentional infliction of emotional distress, the suit's chief effect was to amplify the "news" that Bollea had been caught on video having sex with another man's wife. Par for the course as salacious popular culture goes, and most of us treated it that way: As something of a joke.

The laughter came to an abrupt halt when a jury found in Bollea's favor, bankrupting Gawker with judgments totaling $140 million. In his new film, Nobody Speak, director Brian Knappenberger delves into the case and what it portends for the future of a free press in America. If you subscribe to Netflix, you need to watch this documentary. If you don't, the film is worth your first month's subscription fee (no, I don't work for or own stock in Netflix).

A few key facts that should whet your interest:

The truth of the Gawker "story" was never at issue. Bollea did, in fact, have sex with Heather Clem (wife of entertainment personality Tod Alan "Bubba the Love Sponge" Clem). That the encounter happened and that the video of it was authentic was not something Bollea ever disputed.

Nor, so far as I can tell, did Bollea ever claim that Gawker commissioned the video in advance, or sought after it once it was made. Gawker received it, found it "newsworthy" by their standards (not an unreasonable finding given the site's focus and audience), and ran with it.

Bollea's legal argument boiled down to "my feelings are hurt -- don't let Gawker get away with telling the truth."

For this, he was awarded $115 million in compensatory damages and $25 million in punitive damages (he "only" received $31 million -- Gawker declared bankruptcy and sold off its assets to pay him that much).

But there's more: It turns out that Bollea's lawsuit had an angel investor, someone willing to pay for his lawyers with the express intent of killing Gawker. That investor was Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel, who had a similar bone to pick with Gawker. They'd told the truth about him, too -- that he is a gay man -- and his feelings, like Bollea's, were hurt.

Nobody Speak segues, perhaps a bit strangely, from the Bollea/Thiel/Gawker fight to casino magnate Sheldon Adelson's 2015 takeover of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, a newspaper with a record of writing critically about his business and political ventures. The connecting thread between the two sections of the film is the threat that personal wealth might represent to press freedom. I found the latter topic less compelling. Your mileage may vary.

There are lessons to be learned from Nobody Speaks. If we learn them, Terry Bollea and Peter Thiel will go down in history not as a well-known entertainment figure and a successful tech innovator, but rather as two evildoers who manipulated the legal system to punish the publication of true and accurate information. That portends a fight the public can't afford to lose. Watch the film.

Thomas L. Knapp (@thomaslknapp) is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism. He lives and works in north central Florida.

Loading…

Humans of Greenville

@HumansofGville

Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.

Op Ed

August 15, 2018

The Washington Post

It was a gratifying reaffirmation of American values when thousands of protesters turned out Sunday to denounce the few dozen white-nationalist bigots who rallied across from the White House on the anniversary of last year's mayhem in Charlottesville, Virginia. It was also, from…

August 15, 2018

The Situation Room "is the inner sanctum within an already-secure facility where the most sensitive of the most sensitive information is discussed," Ned Price, former spokesman for the National Security Council said.

Precisely.

In responding to a question from The Washington Post, Price put his…

jim hoagland

August 14, 2018

Have you seen the Nature Valley (the granola bar people) ad out of Canada? It has been making the social-media rounds lately, because it seems to capture something that is well within our power to fix. It portrays different generations of families talking about their childhoods. Scripted or not,…

kathrynlopez

August 14, 2018

If you haven't been to the DMV lately, prepare to be unpleasantly surprised. Everyone's favorite state agency has upped its game and now offers an even more hellish experience.

I'm currently writing this column while sitting cross-legged on the floor at a DMV office. State leaders have been urging…

Colin Campbell

August 13, 2018

Bloomberg Opinion

Zimbabwe's hopes for an election free of violence and manipulation have been dashed, and President-elect Emmerson Mnangagwa is preparing to take office under a cloud. Zimbabwe's friends and neighbors shouldn't look away. They still have a chance to help the country's long-…

August 13, 2018

The views of rank-and-file Republicans, captured in voter surveys, are nothing less than galling.

Let's lead with a poll conducted by the global marketing firm Ipsos and reported by the Daily Beast. It found that 43 percent of self-identified Republicans said that they believed "the president…

Colbert I King

August 13, 2018

In North Carolina politics, Democrats dominate urban areas while Republicans win suburban and rural voters. Outcomes are determined largely by which counties have the highest turnout in a given election.

If you follow state politics, you’ve heard some version of this explanation many times.…

john hood.jpg

August 12, 2018

Most of this column is going to be copied from another writer. He knew how to say what I want to tell you, much better than I could ever do.

While I am at it, let me confess that most of what I write for you each week comes from material other people have written or told me. So very little is…

DGMartin.jpg

August 12, 2018

Before the story fully fades from view, it's important to remember one of the most shameful episodes in a shameful presidency: the Trump administration's policy of "zero tolerance" toward illegal immigrants that separated more than 2,500 children from their parents.

Public outcries and legal…

Steve and Cokie Roberts

August 12, 2018

This week a New York man, Carlos Bayon, was arrested after leaving threatening messages for House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., and Conference Chairman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., promising to go after their families and "feed them lead."

When police raided his home, they found 200…

MarcThiessen
282 stories in Op Ed. Viewing 1 through 10.
«First Page   «Previous Page        
Page 1 of 29
        Next Page»   Last Page»