PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel has been paying for Terry Bollea — aka Hulk Hogan’s — legal battle against Gawker, Forbes reported on Tuesday evening.
A spokesperson for Thiel, who is currently a managing partner at the Founders Fund venture capital fund, did not comment on the report, which Forbes published citing sources who asked for anonymity. He was named a delegate for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump earlier this month.
Hogan was awarded $140 million in March after a jury in Florida determined that the news site violated his privacy by publishing footage of Hogan having sex with a friend’s wife. Gawker challenged the ruling last month, arguing that key evidence was withheld during the trial.
The report came one day after Gawker founder Nick Denton told the New York Times he “had a hunch” that a Silicon Valley executive could have been involved in the suit as a third party, because of his company’s reporting on the tech industry.
Denton later told Forbes that he had heard speculation that it could have been Thiel.
“We write stories about powerful people in New York, but there are plenty of outlets writing stories about powerful people in New York,” Denton said. “We write stories about powerful people in LA, but there are plenty of outlets writing stories about powerful people in LA. What’s unique about Gawker is that we’re an internet publication and the tech industry is of particular interest to us. There are powerful people in Silicon Valley and the power of Silicon Valley is a relatively new phenomenon.”
Thiel has slammed both Gawker and its tech news companion site, Valleywag, since the former attempted to reveal his sexuality — Thiel is gay — without his consent in 2007. Two years later, he said the latter, which ceased operations last December, was “the Silicon Valley equivalent of Al Qaeda.”