ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) — Terry Bollea is known around the world as professional wrestling icon Hulk Hogan. This week the distinction between Bollea the man and Hogan the character are playing out in a St. Petersburg courtroom.
Bollea is suing the website Gawker for $100 million for publishing a sex tape that shows Hogan in intimate acts with the ex-wife of well-know radio personality Todd “Bubba the Love Sponge” Clem.
Testimony this week has revealed Clem knew Hogan had sex with his then wife and even condoned it and that he also knew the sex between Hogan and his wife was recorded by a security camera in his bedroom.
It’s not clear how that video was then released to various media outlets and websites, but on Wednesday Gawker’s former editor and the site’s founder defended his right to publish the video because Hogan is a public figure. Former Gawker editor A.J. Daulerio said the site considered the video to be newsworthy.
“At the time I was thinking if we could show some of the sex that was taking place it would show what was in the public record,” Daulerio said in recorded testimony.
Bollea maintains the publication of the video that shows him engaged in intimate acts in a bedroom is a violation of his privacy. Bollea’s attorney testified as soon as he learned a sex tape existed he did what he could to prevent it’s publication.
“He never knew he was being filmed. He never consented, and we wanted to get the word out that we would prosecute as soon as possible if it were published,” David Houston said.
Houston told the court he immediately sent a letter to Gawker when the site published the video demanding they take it down, but Gawker refused. Houston said he also called Bubba the Love Sponge to ask him if he knew who recorded the video or how it might have been released.
Houston said Clem denied knowing anything about the tape.
Testimony earlier in the week described Clem on camera at the end of the tape talking with his then-wife, Heather Clem. He’s heard saying, “If we ever want to retire, all we have to do is release this tape.”
Several companies, including Vivid Entertainment, contacted Houston and offered to pay for the right to obtain the sex tape.
Houston and Bollea declined.
Bollea claims the release of the video has ruined his life.
The trial over the sex tape is expected to last up to three weeks.
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