Read Pt.1 Here
Looking further into the Hogan case of sex tape privacy, an article was found where the jury was asked about their decision and how they came to it. ABC News had an intriguing headline and I wanted to even note that the headline is not something that the news team came up with on their own, but shows their possible feelings. The headline is derived from what the jury had to say about the case. ““There’s absolutely no doubt that the decision we made was absolutely correct,” Juror Shane O’Neil stated. With only a few lines it gives a clear picture of what was going through the jury’s mind when deciding the verdict. ““No, he’s still a human being just like everyone else, no matter how many people know his name and his face.” came from Juror Shelby Adkins and then Juror Kevin Kennedy said, “Even if he knew he was being recorded, there’s still no right to put that out there if he doesn’t want it put out.”.
It shows that the jury thought that celebrities should be allowed to have private spaces safe from the press, just like any other civilian would be afforded. As well that what Gawker did was a clear violation of the law, specifically a voyeurism law as stated in the last journal entry. As well the total is actually $140 million now that the punitive damages have been added. If this stay in place, it could mean the end of Gawker. From what I’ve read in the previous articles researched for this journal series, Gawker has started to look for funding elsewhere to stay afloat during this whole fiasco. I can imagine that if they don’t win the final decision in appeal, it will be their demise, as well as send a clear message to other outlets that the first amendment isn’t an excuse to violate privacy laws.
That message may have some implications as well. What is the most privacy a state can offer it citizens legally? What is the least the federal government claims, or the SCOTUS claims that it can provide? If there is no set minimum, will each case have to go to the SCOTUS, as it would be insane the amount of cases that would come forward to them due to no guidelines for states and the difference between states. If Gawker is not located in Florida, should Gawker be required to know every law of the city, county, and state of where the people they report on reside? Should any journalism outlet be required to know the all the specific privacy laws in states where they aren’t located. For those that love states rights, it may be impossible to have good faithful reporting if the states rights are attached to a guideline by the federal government. A watchdog may be silenced and that is not good. There has to be a balance found, and the argument to find it needs to be heard equally and clearly by both sides.
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