The Real Plutocrat of Silicon Valley
Being a plutocrat has its advantages. Just ask Peter Thiel, the billionaire founder of PayPal, who apparently used a sliver of his vast fortune to fund a lawsuit aimed at destroying digital media pioneer Gawker Media.
In a scheme that could have been written for a reality television show, Thiel conceived a cynical gambit by which a friendly Florida court permitted a company-crushing verdict to stand in a bizarre case–involving taboo sex and hot gossip brought by local hero Hulk Hogan.
Further appeals will determine whether Gawker must pay $140 million to the wrestling personality after it posted excerpts from a sex tape made by his friend, Bubba the Love Sponge, whose syndicated radio program was among the many Hogan regularly and loudly appeared on to discuss his so-called “private” sexual prowess.
The Writers Guild of America, East represents the editorial employees at Gawker, all of whom will lose their jobs if higher courts end up siding with Hogan. Thiel has all but confessed that his primary objective is Gawker’s demise. Plutocrats already have outsized power in this country, and we cannot allow them to use their vast fortunes to silence media companies. We cannot let Peter Thiel heedlessly destroy one of the most original, intrepid digital media companies in modern journalism – regardless of whether or not we like everything that gets published there. It is imperative that the public know the extent of his efforts to silence the press. We call upon Peter Thiel to reveal all of the lawsuits he has funded.
The sad and ironic final twist is the reality that Thiel generously supports the Committee to Protect Journalists, a highly respected organization dedicated to the global defense of press freedom. Note to Thiel: you can't protect journalists if you use your millions to put them out of work.