Gawker Media founder and CEO Nick Denton may file for bankruptcy after U.S. bankruptcy judge Stuart Bernstein ruled that the company’s own bankruptcy doesn’t extend to protect its founder as well. Denton was found personally liable for $10 million of a $140 million judgment levied against him, the company, and former editor A.J. Daulerio in a civil suit filed by Hulk Hogan.
According to the New York Daily News, Denton testified in the hearing today that the financial strain “would not only wipe him out financially, but distract him from the company’s day-to-day operations.” (Denton is notoriously hands-on in his management of the company, even as he’s created an executive layer to handle the once-growing company.)
“As I’ve said, Peter Thiel’s vendetta against my company may well require me as well as the company to file for bankruptcy protection until the Florida appeals court can rule on the extraordinary $140 million judgment,” Denton said in a statement. Thiel, an influential Silicon Valley billionaire, revealed earlier this year that he had been secretly funding Hogan’s lawsuit against Gawker. “In the end,” Denton said, “the Facebook board member will have nothing to show for his petty grudge other than legal expenses and a reputation for thin skin.”
In addition to the Hogan lawsuit, which is currently being appealed, Gawker’s fielded numerous legal complaints over recent articles — all filed by L.A. lawyer Charles Harder, the lawyer Thiel funded to represent Hulk Hogan. It’s a big week for Thiel: The Trump delegate is slated to speak at the Republican National Convention on Thursday.
This post has been updated with Denton’s statement and to reflect that he has not confirmed he will file for bankruptcy yet.