Ultimately, a jury awarded Hogan $140 million in damages, and earlier this month, he sued Gawker again, this time for intentional infliction of emotional distress, claiming that the website leaked sealed transcript in which he made a racial slur.
But who is Peter Thiel? Here are a few things to know.
1. He has a history with Gawker: In 2007, Gawker published a story with the headline, "Peter Thiel Is Totally Gay, People" before he had publicly discussed his sexuality, and the tech entrepreneur has been at odds with the media company ever since. In 2009, Thiel spoke to a reporter with the PE HUB network and called the since-shuttered Gawker blog Valleywag "the Silicon Valley equivalent of al-Qaeda." "I’m not particularly flattered by being targeted. I actually think it’s sort of the psychology of a terrorist, where it’s purely destructive," he said. "[Valleywag] scares everybody. It’s terrible for the Valley, which is supposed to be about people who are willing to think out loud and be different. I think they should be described as terrorists, not as writers or reporters."
In his interview with the Times, Thiel said that his financial backing of Hogan was "less about revenge and more about specific deterrence." "I saw Gawker pioneer a unique and incredibly damaging way of getting attention by bullying people even when there was no connection with the public interest," he said. "I thought it was worth fighting back."
3. He's worth billions: Forbes reported that Thiel has a net worth of $2.7 billion. In addition to his work with PayPal, he was an early investor in Facebook and has more recently backed Airbnb, Practice Fusion and Stripe. He explained his tech philosophy to the magazine as follows "There's a sense in which technology is, by definition, non-repetitive. And every moment in technological history only happens once."
4. He launched a fellowship to help college students drop out of school: Thiel launched the Thiel Fellowship in 2011 -- a $100,000 grant to help young people create new technologies with the support of tech founders, investors and scientists. According to the fellowship's website, Thiel Fellows have launched more than 60 companies worth more than $1.1 billion.
5. He's also dabbled in the arts: Thiel is the author of two books, including "The Diversity Myth," in which he and his co-author David O. Sacks criticized what they deemed to be political correctness at their alma mater, Stanford, and argued that it caused the quality of an education there to go downhill. He also co-produced the 2005 film "Thank You For Smoking" and has written stories for the likes of the Wall Street Journal and Forbes.