TAMPA, Fla., March 1 (UPI) — Hulk Hogan‘s sex-tape lawsuit against Gawker is heading to trial Monday, nearly four years after the media company posted the video on its website.
With jury selection starting this week, Hogan’s attorney Charles Harder spoke with CNN about how the former WWE Superstar compares to sportscaster Erin Andrews who went through her own trial over nude recordings.
“What’s interesting is that I get this sense that the public and media are so in favor of Erin Andrews,” Harder said. “But for some reason, Hulk Hogan gets treated a different way.”
Hogan, real name Terry Bollea, brought on the $100 million lawsuit against Gawker after it published parts of a video of him having sex with the wife of his former friend, radio host Bubba “the Love Sponge” Clem in 2012.
The trial will feature testimony from defendants Gawker Media founder Nick Denton and former Gawker.com editor-in-chief A.J. Daulerio, as the company lean on First Amendment Rights during its defense.
“Gawker is allowed to join that very public conversation without getting sued for 10s of millions of dollars simply because Hogan didn’t like the way Gawker did so,” Gawker attorney Seth Berlin said to CNN. “Public figures and celebrities don’t get to use the court system to punish speech about them that they don’t like. That’s just not the country we live in.”
Back in July, WWE cut ties with Hogan after The National Enquirer obtained the sex-tape and revealed that the television personality had used racial slurs to describe daughter Brooke Hogan‘s boyfriend. Hogan and his team blamed Gawker for the leak and filed a compliant in August.
“WWE is committed to embracing and celebrating individuals from all backgrounds as demonstrated by the diversity of our employees, performers and fans worldwide,” the organization said at the time.
The trial was originally scheduled for July 6, 2015 but was pushed back until March from its original October postponement date to allow for the hunt for possible leaks from Gawker to the Enquirer.