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Former Editor's Sarcastic Reply Takes Center Stage at Gawker-Hulk Hogan Trial

A.J. Daulerio's comment was "flip" but may hurt the case.


Hulk Hogan’s lawsuit against Gawker Media for publishing a sex tape of the retired wrestler in 2012, whose trial is currently taking place in Florida, continues to produce headline-making material.

For example, in a videotaped deposition shown in court Wednesday, editor A.J. Daulerio was asked by attorneys for Hulk Hogan what he felt was the cutoff age for newsworthiness for a celebrity sex tape.

Daulerio’s sarcastic reply: “Four.”

The sharp exchange, recorded last April, stood out on a day filled with generally drier testimony from a Hulk Hogan lawyer, a journalism expert and the screening of a 2013 deposition tape featuring Gawker boss Nick Denton.

Hogan lawyer David Houston took the stand to give more detail on the cease-and-desist letter that he sent to Gawker after Daulerio released the video, and University of Florida journalism professor Mike Foley questioned some of Gawker’s decision-making in the course of publishing the sex tape.

Denton’s deposition touched on his thoughts on free speech and Gawker Media’s journalistic ethics. Both Daulerio and Denton are expected to take the stand when called by the defense in coming days.

The Daulerio exchange stood out, however, prompting Gawker Media to issue a direct response explaining that the ex-editor’s reply was sarcastic and not what he actually thought.

A copy of the statement provided to Re/code says that “[Daulerio] just said in the prior answer [of the deposition tape] that he wouldn’t post a tape of a child and when the question was repeated he obviously made the point in a flip way because his answer was already clear.”

Daulerio left Gawker in 2013 and later founded the online tabloid Ratter, which was backed in part by Gawker Media and Mark Cuban. In January, Daulerio said he was suspending Ratter’s publication until after the Hogan trial was finished.

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