Newton’s Third Law

May 29, 2016

I want to point you to a good article.

But first.
If you were to draw a venn diagram of three seemingly separate topics that I’m into, this might be their only intersection.

The Hulk Hogan sex tape scandal.
It includes pro wrestling. Startup billionaire. And a writer I follow.
Add a forth circle for gossip websites (I usually avoid but sometimes can’t resist) and we have a fourfecta.

It involves Hulk Hogan having sex with his best buddy’s wife, with consent. He was being videotaped, however, without consent. Apparently he said some racist things in that video. And a gossip website known for ruthlessness leaked that info without his permission. As a consequence, he was immediately fired by his employer, WWE. And his reputation took a big hit, maybe for good. Hogan, devastated, asked them to stop. They refused. He filed a lawsuit.

The main question courts had to decide: Do celebrities have no right to privacy?

In this case, law sided with David instead of Goliath.
Hogan won a $140M lawsuit against Gawker media.
And an appeals judge upheld the results.
It’s likely Gawker will go out of business.

This week, it was revealed that Hogan had secret financial & legal backing by billionaire Paypal cofounder Peter Thiel, who was publicly outed for being gay by the same website, and has been seeking revenge by supporting lawsuits against the site. The same media company also outed Tim Cook, CEO of Apple.

Some folks are outraged with this Thiel revelation, while others see it as the benevolent rich helping the little guy (even if it’s a giant pro-wrestler with 24 inch pythons) stand up against bullying corporations.

Finally, I want to share an article by Ryan Holiday, who it seems has also been the target by the same website. His emails were hacked and leaked. Ryan is understandably on Thiel & Hogan’s side.

The lessons from this case are applicable to all of us, in the social media generation, as we can say anything (vicious) about anyone else while behind a computer screen.

Ryan reminds us that actions have consequences, and a little empathy for the other person in our crosshairs goes a long way.

Resources:
Peter Thiel’s Reminder to the Gawker Generation: Actions Have Consequences

Update:
Wanted to share Jeff Bezos’s thoughts on this topic.

In a nutshell: don’t seek revenge, spend your energy on better things, just keep making great things, if you’re a public figure, don’t have thin skin. If you’re doing anything worthwhile, you will be criticized. Freedom of speech usually protects nasty speech by default because great speech doesn’t need protection. Free speech means we have to also put up with ugly speech.
– via Recode