- REUTERS/Tim Shaffer
While the report doesn’t say if Omidyar is providing financial support to Gawker, First Look Media is filing a “friend of the court” brief and is trying to rally other media organizations around Gawker’s cause – turning any appeal into a free-speech issue.
This news comes just days after fellow Silicon Valley billionaire and PayPal cofounder Peter Thiel confirmed that he was a financial backer of Hogan’s lawsuit against Gawker.
With the $140 million judgment hanging over its head, Gawker founder Nick Denton is said to be exploring a sale of the company.
Omidyar and Thiel have a history. Omidyar was the founder of eBay, and Thiel was a cofounder of PayPal, which first took off as a way for eBay traders to pay for auction items. eBay eventually bought PayPal, and a lot of former PayPal execs – including Thiel – left. Many later criticized eBay for failing to innovate with the payment system, and eBay spun it back out last year.
Omidyar is the creator and chief financier of First Look Media, the company that owns and operates The Intercept, a journalism venture headed by former Guardian reporter Glenn Greenwald, made famous in the wake of the Snowden leaks.
“The First Amendment inspires everything we do,” says First Look’s mission statement.
When news of Thiel’s involvement in the Gawker case came to light, Omidyar criticized Thiel and his support of presumptive Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump on Twitter:
So Thiel agrees with Trump’s plan to muzzle press that criticizes government, obviously. That’s why he supports him? https://t.co/YsYFSV7emR
— Pierre Omidyar (@pierre) May 25, 2016
Later on Friday, Omidyar posted another tweet, saying that his differences with Thiel are ideological, not political or personal, and that there’s no “bad blood:”
Also, I’ve never met Peter, respect his work as vc, and obv disagree on Trump and press. There is no “bad blood.” https://t.co/2XCZVMyaes
— Pierre Omidyar (@pierre) May 27, 2016
First Look General Counsel Lynn Oberlander provided the following statement, reprinted here in full: