The British former journalist lost a bid for protection from damages over the Hulk Hogan privacy case, but vowed to fight on

The founder of Gawker Media, Nick Denton, faces personal bankruptcy after a US judge refused to extend protections shielding him from liabilities in the Hulk Hogan privacy case.

The decision represents a victory for Hogan as well billionaire investor Peter Thiel, an early backer and board member of Facebook who helped fund Hogans lawsuit following the publication of an article by Gawker about Thiels homosexuality.

But Denton, a British former journalist, vowed to fight back.

This story will conclude with Gawker Medias popular brands sheltered under new ownership and the importance of a free and critical press reaffirmed by the courts, Denton said in a statement. In the end, the Facebook board member will have nothing to show for his petty grudge other than legal expenses and a reputation for thin skin.

Thiel did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Gawker, a US internet publisher, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in June after Hogan won a $140m judgment against the company over the publication of excerpts from a sex tape, $125m of which Denton is liable for, according to court filings.

Attorneys for Gawker had asked the court for the same protections for its founder, including a shield from lawsuits. The court had only agreed to give Denton temporary protections.

Stuart Bernstein, bankruptcy court judge for the southern district of New York, declined on Tuesday to extend the shield.

Attorneys for Gawker argued that without the shield, Denton would be distracted by his own personal bankruptcy process. Gawkers business and its plan to sell itself in bankruptcy would suffer, they said.

Gawker and its investment bankers are now soliciting acquisition offers for the company. When Gawker filed for bankruptcy, it had an agreement from online publisher Ziff Davis to buy the company for $90m, but this was only meant to be a stalking horse bid setting the floor price in an auction process that is now under way.

Prior to the ruling, Denton said a personal bankruptcy process would be major distraction to him helping navigate Gawker through its auction, arguing that he would be playing a crucial role.

I know they are going to want to speak to me, Denton told the court of other potential bidders for Gawker. Im the founder of the company. I know where all the bodies are buried.

Hogans attorneys argued that Dentons personal bankruptcy would not weigh on Gawker because the company already had in place an executive team and outside professionals who would be able to execute the sale.

Denton said that Gawker had loaned him money to pay for his personal bankruptcy attorney, and that he had met with the attorney twice. In court papers, Hogans attorney stated that the loan was for $200,000.

Denton said in court that he has two assets, his equity in his apartment and his stock in Gawker. Denton owns about 30% of Gawker. The value of the equity of his apartment was not referenced in court.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/media/2016/jul/20/gawker-founder-nick-denton-faces-personal-bankruptcy

Gawker founder Nick Denton faces personal bankruptcy
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