ST. PETERSBERG, FL - Hulk Hogan's lookin' to lay the smackdown on Gawker. The civil trial between the world's most famous wrestler and the website got underway Monday.
No loud, macho entrance into this "ring," though. The judge told the Hulkster he must go by his real name, Terry Bollea, and to leave the spandex and feather boas at home. He can keep the bandana, but it must be a "plain" one.
Bollea picked black for this somber occasion, after tweeting to his 1.4 million followers, "All is well." Let's be real, all is not well for the mustachioed former pro-wrestler.
He's suing Gawker for $100 million, after the website published a secretly-recorded sex tape of him. If you think that's icky, he was bumpin' uglies with Heather Clem, the former wife of his then-best friend, radio shock jock Bubba The Love Sponge. Shocker--the Clems divorced in 2012 after the tape was published.The two-minute clip has been removed from the site, but not before an estimated 2.5 million people watched the clip.
Attorneys for the WWE champion and reality star say Gawker violated his right to privacy, arguing that the video was made without his knowledge or consent. Gawker says their post is protected free speech under the First Amendment, and that it was reporting on a celebrity who has spilled the beans about his sex life in public.
This trial is a big deal for the First Amendment. A loss could put the website in the "404 error" category for good. A six-person jury will have to sort through the sordid details and decide where the privacy line is drawn.