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Peter Thiel’s dignified sleight of hand

Earlier today, we started saying rumblings about a New York Times op-ed from famed businessman and try entrepreneur Peter Thiel — an op-ed where he’d lay out a box opposite Gawker.

Thiel, of course, sensitively poured $10 million into a lawsuit by Terry Bollea, a.k.a. Hulk Hogan, which bankrupted Gawker Media. Thiel’s financial impasse wasn’t revealed until after a decider dynamic that Gawker due $140 million to a former pro wrestler for edition one of his sex tapes and an concomitant article, and Thiel hasn’t oral publicly about bankrolling a lawsuit aside from a singular interview with The New York Times.

It seemed that, finally, Thiel was holding a event to lay out his logic for appropriation a lawsuit that’s bringing Gawker’s autonomy to an end.

Unfortunately, a op-ed incited out to be a disappointment. Thiel framed his electioneer opposite Gawker as a happy rights emanate in an letter that distorts a law of a conditions and fails to residence a implications of a billionaire selecting to broke a media company.

It’s prolonged been speculated that Thiel’s enterprise to kneecap Gawker was borne out of a 2007 letter on a site that declared, “Peter Thiel is totally gay, people.” Today, Thiel reliable those suspicions. “I also know what it feels like to have one’s possess remoteness violated. In 2007, we was outed by a online report blog Gawker,” Thiel wrote.

However, it’s value observant that a open inlet of Thiel’s sexuality is a bit some-more difficult — Owen Thomas, author of a post in doubt (and a happy male himself), has argued that Thiel was “not in any kind of closet,” since his sexuality was already obvious in his round of friends.

And nonetheless Thiel argues differently in his op-ed, he is by no means a private citizen. He’s an financier in vital companies like Facebook, PayPal and Palantir, and therefore a open figure whose life is open to scrutiny. What’s more, Thomas’s post didn’t slur Thiel’s sexuality — it questioned since his colleagues in Silicon Valley did, notwithstanding portraying themselves as accepting.

Although Thiel likens himself to happy Olympians who could face jail time after being outed, a many mistreat he can explain is that a Gawker post “didn’t feel good.”

In further to portrayal his authorised involvement as a fight opposite a use of outing, Thiel also calls Hogan a plant of punish porn. “The United States House of Representatives is deliberation a Intimate Privacy Protection Act, a bipartisan check that would make it bootleg to discharge pithy private images, infrequently called punish porn, though a agree of a people involved. Nicknamed a Gawker Bill, it would also yield rapist consequences for third parties who sought to distinction from such material,” Thiel wrote.

A orator for Rep. Jackie Speier, a co-sponsor of a bill, told BuzzFeed, “I have no thought where ‘the Gawker Bill’ name comes from, though it’s incorrect.”

It’s also value observant that women — who Thiel believes should not have a right to opinion — are a primary victims of punish porn. As most as Thiel postures as a polite rights defender, he’s not appropriation a lawsuit for Heather Clem, Hogan’s partner in a tape. He’s not pouring $10 million into Speier’s legislative bid to finish punish porn. Referring to a Intimate Privacy Protection Act as “the Gawker Bill” shifts a concentration divided from a 90 percent of punish porn victims who are women.

Thiel also used a op-ed to rewrite a story of Hulk Hogan’s case. Hogan sued Gawker over a announcement of one of his sex tapes — distinct other Hogan tapes, he does not use secular slurs in a shave Gawker posted. Hogan had discussed his sex life during length in interviews published before to a Gawker article, that attorneys for a announcement argued done his sex life a matter of open interest.

“At initial he simply requested that Gawker take down a video,” Thiel wrote in his op-ed. But, notwithstanding The New York Times’ policy to fact-check opinion pieces, a explain is inaccurate. Hogan asserted copyright claims over a video, and when those failed, he asserted remoteness claims instead, demanding that Gawker mislay a one notation and 41 second shave as good as a accompanying narrative created by former editor A.J. Daulerio.

In this case, Gawker wasn’t only forced to take down a video, it wasn’t simply penalized or fined. It was forced to announce failure (the company’s interest is ongoing), as was owner Nick Denton. Daulerio might have to follow suit. (Personal disposition alert: One of a authors of this post used to write for Daulerio, while a other used to write for Thomas.)

Of course, it was a decider who eventually motionless Gawker’s fate, though zero Thiel has pronounced or created suggests that he disagrees with a outcome — in a op-ed, he points helpfully to a $140 million in damages, that he pronounced proves “that there are consequences for violating privacy.”

It’s a “consequences” that are frightening, as good as Thiel’s efforts to support this as an “ongoing cause,” one where he would “gladly support someone else in a same position.” One can simply suppose another conditions where Thiel, or someone else with low pockets, supports a long, costly authorised conflict since he or she didn’t like what a contributor wrote — and is afterwards postulated space in The New York Times to rewrite a account to fit his possess agenda. One could also suppose a publisher determining not to strike tell on a severe or argumentative square since creation a wrong enemies could clean them out financially. Although Thiel had a event to residence these fears today, he chose obfuscation and daze instead.

Featured Image: David Paul Morris/Getty Images


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