ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — A lawyer for Gawker cross-examined a journalism professor for hours Thursday morning during the fourth day of trial testimony in wrestler Hulk Hogan’s lawsuit against the gossip website over a sex video.
Jurors watched as Michael Sullivan grilled Mike Foley, a University of Florida journalism professor, then broke for lunch.
Sullivan asked Foley about multiple news articles — many of them with seemingly lurid content about strippers, nudity and at one point, toe-sucking — and made the point that while some publications don’t meet Foley’s standards for “good” journalism, they are all covered under the First Amendment.
“Are all of those publishers guaranteed the rights of the First Amendment?” asked Sullivan.
Foley said that in his mind, if a publication were to focus on, say, child pornography, then no. Otherwise, he said, “I believe they all operate under the freedom of the press.”
Foley, who was called as an expert witness by Hogan’s team on Wednesday, questioned Gawker’s decision not to contact Hogan, the woman in the video or the woman’s husband when it posted the video.
He added that in his opinion, the sex video was an example of “undue intrusiveness.”
Hogan, whose given name is Terry Bollea, is suing Gawker Media for $100 million for posting the edited video showing him having sex with his then-best friend’s wife. The former wrestler has said he didn’t know he was being filmed when the video was made.