The main theme for day two of the Hulk Hogan vs. Gawker Media trial, which continued the cross-examination of Terry Bollea that began on day one, was his opponents continuing to use media interviews to paint him in a negative light.
The day started with Gawker attorney Michael Sullivan airing clips from an interview Hulk Hogan had conducted with TMZ in March 2012 where he claimed that he didn't know the identity of the woman in the sex tape that the media site had obtained because he was running wild at the time and had slept with several brunettes.
Bollea indicated that because he was in character during the interview in question that he had felt comfortable embellishing the number of sexual partners that he had whilst he was in the process of getting divorced and talking about the sex tape more generally.
Sullivan then showed a clip from Hogan Knows Best where part of Hogan's rear end was exposed. Sticking to his story, Bollea claimed he "wasn't embarrassed" by the footage because it was "part of the show", likening it to when fellow wrestler Ric Flair would have his trunks pulled down by an opponent, exposing his buttocks, during a wrestling match.
From a wrestling fan's perspective, the highlight of the day was an email from TNA President Dixie Carter that was introduced as evidence where she told Hogan that she loved him to death, but felt that the aforementioned TMZ interview was beneath him. She went on to claim that PR was her speciality and she could have helped him kill the sex tape story. In particular, she was concerned that his lawyer David Houston, who had also appeared in the interview, was using Hogan to enhance his name.
When asked about this email, Bollea essentially threw Dixie Carter under a bus, disagreeing that PR was her speciality, as she had only been a publicist 20 years ago and wouldn't have understood the legal ramifications like Houston did.
TNA came up again when Sullivan aired a clip from a Howard Stern interview where Hogan had both complained about and made fun of the promotion's initials because it sounded like T&A, which is known to stand for tits and ass. Regarding why Bollea had agreed to talk about the sex tape on Stern's show, he indicated that you have to take the good with the bad, that is, in order to use the platform to promote TNA's Bound For Glory pay-per-view, he had to talk about sex in return, which he was comfortable with doing because he was on an entertainment show and he had to be an entertainer on the show, so he just went with the flow.
The peak of the Bollea vs. Hogan insanity was when Sullivan brought up an old interview with Bubba The Love Sponge where Hogan had discussed the size of his penis, which led to this amazing exchange:
Sullivan: "Let me ask you this, just let's see if we can simplify this, do you have any doubt that you as you sit in that witness stand today that you were discussing the length of your penis on Bubba's radio program? Any doubt?
Bollea: "Well, it's not mine, because mine isn't that size, but we were discussing the length of Hulk Hogan's."
Bollea: "No, seriously I don't have a ten inch penis. No, I do not, seriously."
Sullivan: "Fair enough, so what you are telling us you were discussing the length of Hulk Hogan's penis?"
Bollea: "Yeah, because Terry Bollea's penis is not ten inches like you are trying to say."
It's hard to see this playing well in the jury's eyes. I don't see the jury understanding the nuanced difference between "working a character" in the public eye and straight up lying, if there even is one. I don't think they'll be able to see the clear separation between Hulk Hogan, the character, and Terry Bollea, the human being, and won't know where one begins and the other one ends.
Sullivan's cross-examination of Bollea concluded with him bringing up Brooke Hogan discussing her sex life on the Howard Stern show with her father Hulk Hogan, but this conversation didn't get very far as Hogan's lawyer raised an objection when Sullivan asked Bollea what he thought about Stern saying he wanted to take Brooke's virginity and his response to Howard that "she’s the right height."
After lunch, there was about 20 minutes of Bollea being asked questions by one of his own lawyers, to redirect his testimony back to the emotional toll that Gawker's decision to publish excerpts of him having sex with Heather Cole took on him. The ground covered here was similar to the opening arguments made on Hogan's behalf about him not consenting to the video's publication. Bollea claimed that he was a shell of the person he used to be, stating "I would say I'm not the same person I was before all this craziness happened."
A videotaped deposition of former TNA PR agent Jules Wortman from April 7th, 2015, was then shown, who had worked with Hogan in 2012. The key points of interest from her testimony were:
Hogan's lawyers then read out the deposition of David Rice, who worked as a sound engineer on Bubba The Love Sponge's radio show for five years. Rice admitted to installing the security camera in Bubba's bedroom that was used to tape Hogan having sex with Heather Cole.
A video deposition of Tony Burton, a talent agent who contacted Gawker's AJ Daulerio to offer him Hogan's sex tape, then aired. Burton claimed that he didn't have the sex tape and neither did his client, but that his client knew someone who did.
Next was another video deposition aired of Emma Carmichael, Gawker's former managing editor and the current editor-in-chief of Jezebel (another Gawker property). The main points here were:
- Hogan's lawyer brought up a double entendre joke that Carmichael made at Hogan's expense in an internal chat, asking "Do you think it's funny?" She obviously replied no.
- When asked whether she would post the sex-tape excerpt again, Carmichael claimed she would, if history were to repeat itself. She added that she was very comfortable with the way Gawker framed the story and the context they gave to the story.
- Unsurprisingly, Carmichael said she was anti-revenge porn.
- A hypothetical question was asked about a newspaper publishing a story about an employer who secretly filmed women (presumably nude) with video excerpts included and whether publication was justified. Carmichael claimed that with censorship it could be published.
- Carmichael admitted that the third biggest story of 2012 in terms of traffic for Gawker was the Hogan sex tape story. Number one was a post entitled "These Topless Photos of Kate Middleton Put Us at Two for Three on Royal Nudie Pic Scandals [NSFW]"
Finally, a videotaped deposition of John Cook, Gawker's executive editor aired. Cook maintained that it could be appropriate to post sexual pictures of someone without their express consent. More "workplace humour" that he was involved with about the Hogan story via internal chat messengers was discussed:
Cook even had to explain why he posted a picture of an uncircumcised penis on colleague Andrew Sullivan's blog! In this Wild West environment maybe we shouldn't be too surprised that Cook didn't consider the emotional stress that posting the Hulk Hogan sex video would have on Terry Bollea.
Tomorrow, Hogan's lawyer David Houston will testify and depositions from Gawker owner Nick Denton and former Gawker editor-in-chief A.J. Daulerio, who wrote the infamous Hulk Hogan sex tape article, will be heard.