By Joseph Ax
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Professional wrestler Hulk Hogan has sued gossip website Gawker for $100 million for posting excerpts of a sex tape featuring Hogan and the wife of his best friend.
Hogan, whose real name is Terry Bollea, has also filed a lawsuit against the woman, Heather Clem, and her ex-husband, radio shock jock Bubba the Love Sponge, claiming they videotaped him without his knowledge.
The posting of the video earlier this month "constitutes a shameful and outrageous invasion of plaintiff's right of privacy by a group of loathsome defendants who have no regard for human dignity and care only about maximizing their revenues and profits at the expense of all others," said the lawsuit against Gawker, which was filed Monday in Tampa federal court.
The video depicted Hogan and Clem having sex in her bedroom while she was still married. It was recorded six years ago, according to the lawsuits.
"Plaintiff has spent considerable time and effort developing his career as a professional champion wrestler and developing his brand," the lawsuit against Clem and Bubba, whose real name is Todd Clem, said, noting that Hogan is a "12-time world wrestling champion."
Cameron Stracher, a lawyer for Gawker, said he believes the suit is meritless and will ask a judge to throw the case out.
"He's having sex with another man's wife in another man's home," he added. "I'm not sure it's reasonable to say he has an expectation of privacy under the circumstances."
The lawsuit against Gawker seeks $100 million in damages. The lawsuit against the Clems, filed in Pinellas County, Florida, does not specify an amount.
Stephen Diaco, a lawyer for Bubba, said Hogan knew there was a tape of the encounter, despite his claim that he was unaware, and that Bubba had nothing to do with its release.
"Bubba is a victim; Heather is a victim," he said. "Bubba does not know who released this tape."
It was not immediately clear whether Heather Clem had retained an attorney in the matter.
The two men have long been close; Hogan was the best man at the Clems' wedding and is a godfather to their son, Diaco said.
Hogan told radio host Howard Stern during a recent appearance on his show that Bubba gave him permission to have sex with his wife.
(Reporting by Joseph Ax; Editing by Bob Burgdorfer)