Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel has been unmasked as the shadowy figure reportedly funding former wrestler Hulk Hogan’s ongoing, extraordinarily costly lawsuits against Gawker Media.
A day after the Times report was published, Forbes confirmed the involvement of Thiel, who declined to comment on the matter.
While Thiel has been footing the legal bills that could shutter one news organization, he has also extended his financial support to the Committee to Protect Journalists, a nonprofit foundation that defends “The right of journalists to report the news without fear of reprisal.”
He has donated to conservative-libertarian pro-L.G.B.T. organizations, and has said he wishes politics could return to an era that more closely resembles the 1920s-before the New Deal, and the creation of the modern welfare state.
Like the litigious real-estate mogul, who has a history of using his wealth to bleed enemies dry through the court system, Thiel has been using his vast fortune-anonymously, until now-to cut Gawker down to size.
Thiel is entitled to his opinions, but his broader strategy-using vast sums of money to ostensibly shut down a media company whose coverage he doesn’t like-could set a dangerous precedent and have a chilling effect on the press as a whole.