Ever since Gawker.com published clips of a lengthy sex tape featuring Hulk Hogan running wild with Heather Cole, the ex-wife of Bubba The Love Sponge, the two sides (Gawker and The Hulkster) have been embroiled in litigation over the legality of the original story's publication.
The initial hearings went against Hogan, as federal judge James D. Whittemore twice denied his motion for the immediate removal of the video from the site.
This led to Hogan dropping his federal case against Gawker and refiling the lawsuit in Florida state court, clearly hoping he would have better luck with a different judge.
Yesterday, Hogan's wishes finally came true, as the Hon. Pamela A.M. Campbell, a circuit court judge in Pinellas County, FL, ordered Gawker to not only remove the video footage of "Hulk Hogan fucking his friend's ex-wife" from their website, but also their 1,400 word long description of the steamy sex session too:
"I'm ordering that the Gawker.com remove the sex tape and all portions and content therein from their websites, including Gawker.com. Ordering to remove the written narrative describing the private sexual encounter, including the quotations from the private sexual encounter from websites and including Gawker.com."
However, so far Gawker haven't fully abided by the new judge's ruling. They've taken the naughty video down, but the original story still remains up with a short update explaining what's happened and also providing a link to a copy of the embarrassing footage that someone independently uploaded to DailyMotion.com.
Bizarrely, the judge made her ruling without even looking at the tape she ordered Gawker.com to remove. I would have thought that would have been necessary to make a well informed decision on the matter, but obviously she was convinced that Hogan's right to privacy was breached without needing to see the evidence.
In addition to the edits made to their initial Hulk Hogan sex tape exposé, Gawker have also posted a robust justification for their refusal to take down that story as demanded. Unsurprisingly, their defense relied heavily on the First Amendment right to freedom of speech:
"We publish all manner of stories here. Some are serious, some are frivolous, some are dumb. I am not going to make a case that the future of the Republic rises or falls on the ability of the general public to watch a video of Hulk Hogan fucking his friend's ex-wife. But the Constitution does unambiguously accord us the right to publish true things about public figures. And Campbell's order requiring us to take down not only a very brief, highly edited video excerpt from a 30-minute Hulk Hogan fucking session but also a lengthy written account from someone who had watched the entirety of that fucking session, is risible and contemptuous of centuries of First Amendment jurisprudence."
Gawker are already preparing to appeal this judgement, so although Hulk Hogan has finally won a legal battle against them, the war is set to continue. We'll let you know the final winner, Cagesiders, when that day eventually comes to pass.