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Hulk sues Bubba over sex tape

The Tampa Tribune
Published:   |   Updated: March 18, 2013 at 05:29 PM
TAMPA -

The tale of the Hulk Hogan sex tape had it all: Sex, of course, and celebrity and betrayal.

Add litigation to the list.

The former wrestling superstar on Monday filed a civil lawsuit in Pinellas County Circuit Court against shock jock Bubba the Love Sponge Clem, and Clem's ex-wife, Heather Clem. The suit accuses the pair of videotaping Hogan and Heather Clem having sex in Heather Clem's bedroom about six years ago.

Hogan says he wasn't aware he was being recorded. The release of the video, "which is perceived unfavorably by the public," has diminished Hogan's value, according to the lawsuit.

Hogan, who grew up in Tampa and lives in the area, has also sued Gawker Media, the owner of Gawker.com, an online gossip site that recently released an excerpt of the video recording. That lawsuit was filed Monday in federal court in Tampa.

Hogan's attorneys said they are seeking $100 million from the website. They have asked the owners of Gawker.com to remove the footage, but the website has refused.

They are also asking that the video and all copies be returned to Hogan and his attorneys so the recordings can be destroyed.

"The actions of the defendants cannot be tolerated by a civil society," said Hogan's lead attorney, Charles Harder, of Los Angeles. "Hulk Hogan will take all reasonable steps necessary to ensure that all persons and entities who were involved in this are punished to the fullest extent of the law."

Hogan, 59, whose real name is Terry Bollea, appeared at the news conference Monday afternoon outside the federal courthouse in downtown Tampa. He wore a black do-rag on his head, wraparound sunglasses, a black fitted shirt and jeans. He didn't speak or take questions from about a dozen reporters covering the conference.

Hogan's personal attorney, David Houston, of Reno, Nev., said Hogan is "not someone that is going to allow himself to be victimized.''

Houston called the recording and its release an egregious invasion of privacy that is "an attempt to destroy (Hogan's) life." Anyone contemplating publishing the video should expect legal action, he said.

"If you do so, we have plenty of room on the front page of this complaint to add your name and we certainly will," Houston said. "We will not tolerate it. And when I said that we would be coming for you, I meant that."

It's not clear whether Hogan and Bubba the Love Sponge Clem are still friends.

The Clems have since divorced.

Stephen Diaco, a lawyer for Clem, said Hogan was the best man at the Clem wedding and is a godfather to Clem's child.

"My hope is that these two can preserve their friendship," Diaco said. "I can't comment on the suit. This has caused harm to Bubba and he didn't release it, he didn't condone the release of it. He wants to find out who did that and he wants that person to be held accountable."

It is illegal in Florida to record someone without their permission, but Hogan waited too long to file criminal charges.


jpatino@tampatrib.com (813) 259-7659 Twitter: @jpatinoTrib

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