Hiscox Insurance names Cox Radio and three high profile DJs in a lawsuit seeking to clarify whether the company is required to defend the station against an ongoing lawsuit between the station and former pro-wrestler Terry Bollea, better known as Hulk Hogan.
The lawsuit names Bollea as well as shock jocks Mike Calta and Matthew Christian Lloyd, better known as Spice Boy.
At issue is a 2016 case in which Bollea sued Cox Radio and Cox Enterprises as well as Calta and Lloyd over sex-tapes released showing him engaged in sex acts with another jock’s then-wife.
The videos showed acts between shock-jock Bubba the Love Sponge Clem and his former wife, Heather Clem.
Bollea sued the news site Gawker and others for “surreptitiously-recorded and illegally-obtained” content of what he thought was a private act.
Gawker reached a $31 million settlement in that case. Cases against other defendants are still pending.
Now, Cox Enterprises is calling on Hiscox Insurance to indemnify its companies, affiliates and related employees for losses should they be incurred in the lawsuit.
In the company’s suit, Hiscox Insurance claims they should not be required to cover the entities because the lawsuit in question surrounding the sex tapes does not meet the definitions of “media activity,” “media content” or “covered media” outlined in the insurance policy.
The company is asking a judge to confirm its opinion.
The underlying lawsuit, which led Gawker to enter Chapter 11 bankruptcy, had more than just sex appeal.
The lawsuit underscored privacy concerns among celebrities and other people of interest while questioning at what point information met the threshold for media relevance. In its arguments, Gawker claimed the video met that standard because Bollea’s fame made it of substantial public interest.
A judge ultimately sided with Bollea and awarded $140 million in total compensatory and punitive damages.
The ruling set a precedent for things like celebrity sex tapes moving forward and sets a standard for media companies hoping to share salacious images or videos despite any invasion of privacy.