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Peter Thiel: Wealthy people shouldn’t take out publishers, and “if they try, they won’t succeed”

Here’s what Peter Thiel had to say about Gawker, Hulk Hogan, and the media during his speech and Q&A at the National Press Club this morning.

On whether he set a dangerous precedent by backing Hulk Hogan:

“I don’t think so. Let’s start with the facts of the case. It involved a sex tape. If you make a sex tape of someone with their permission, you’re a pornographer. If you make a sex tape without their permission—we were told now—you are a journalist. I would submit that as an insult to all journalists.”

On whether wealthy, powerful people could now use their influence and money to snuff out other publishers: 

Wealthy people shouldn’t do that. I think if they try, they won’t succeed. Gawker was a pretty flimsy business; it was a bad business. It didn’t make that much money. They could have withstood all the lawsuits. They lost because of an enormous verdict that came in against them . . . they lost on the facts. 

On why he kept his involvement in the Gawker case under wraps:

“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 our legal system. It costs too much. This was the modus operandi of Gawker, in large part, to go after people who had no chance of fighting back. We can debate about whether the more appropriate thing for me would have been to be transparent about funding it all the way through, but my judgment was that Mr. Hogan deserved to have his day in court, and that would have distracted from [it].”

PM