Kevin Blatt, a self-proclaimed Hollywood “sex-tape broker" who gained fame after promoting a video of Paris Hilton’s intimate moments in 2003, told BuzzFeed News that Hulk Hogan's video has zero financial value.
"No one wants to see the mustached, [61-year-old] wrestler have sex," he said.
Hogan — whose real name is Terry Bollea — sued Gawker Media for $100 million in 2012 after they posted a video of him having sex with Heather Clem, the wife of his best friend Bubba the Love Sponge Clem. Hogan claims Gawker invaded his privacy by broadcasting the encounter, which took place in Clem’s bedroom. Hogan also maintains he did not know he was being filmed. The trial is set to start Monday.
Blatt has made a career of promoting celebrity sex tapes — and keeping others out of the public’s eyes. Lawyers for both Hogan and Gawker courted him as an expert witness, though both ended up dropping him.
In 2004, Blatt helped locate a man who was trying to extort $2.5 million from Cameron Diaz over a stolen sex tape. According to New York Magazine, Blatt “traced the IP address to computer servers in Thailand, then unearthed the IQ online chat number of a Russian who led him to a photographer.”
Blatt told BuzzFeed News he was first approached by Hogan’s lawyers. He said he believes he was contacted as an expert witness because of his “professional resume on working on celebrity sex tapes."
Blatt said when the lawyers asked him how much he thinks the tape of Hogan and Heather Clem having sex is worth, Blatt’s response was straightforward: nothing.
“I don’t think that’s the answer they wanted to hear,” Blatt told BuzzFeed News. “My position has always been, and this isn’t isolated to Hulk Hogan, is that male sex tapes don’t sell. No one cares about his sex tape. There was a Colin Farrell sex tape and no one really cared. Women don’t make up the population of who buys porn.”
Hogan's lawyer Charles Harder told BuzzFeed News he had a brief, 20-minute phone call with Blatt a year and a half ago, but ultimately decided to not use him as a witness. Harder did not elaborate on what was discussed.
Months after speaking to Hogan’s lawyers, Blatt said Gawker’s lawyers hired him to testify about the monetary value of the tape.
Blatt said he sat through an hours-long deposition, of “more than 500 questions” about the value of the tape and was then told to keep the week of July 6 open to fly down to Florida as an expert witness in the case.
“From a standpoint of someone who brokers sex tapes, I don’t find it to be anything that would be fruitful,” he said of the tape.
About three weeks ago Blatt said Gawker's lawyers told him wouldn’t be needed for the trial.
He told BuzzFeed News he has not been in touch with any of the case's lawyers for some time and was not given a reason as to why he wouldn’t be needed to testify.
“I spent my summer so far waiting, now they told me I won’t have to be there,” he said. “I assumed my deposition was enough, or that they had settled.”
But the two parties have not settled the case. The jury trial is set to begin next week in St. Petersburg.
"Hogan and his lawyers initially claimed that he should recover the value of a commercially released Hulk Hogan sex tape," Heather Dietrick, president and general counsel of Gawker Media, told BuzzFeed News. "Although that seemed odd to us since he said he would never release such a tape, to drill down on his claim we consulted with Kevin Blatt, who brokers such deals. And Kevin told us that in his world the tape was of no value commercially. Since then, it appears that Hogan has abandoned that damages claim."
Since Gawker's lawyers will not be asking Blatt to testify, they filed a motion on June 12 to prevent Hogan's counsel from calling Blatt as a witness in the case.
If in fact Hogan did not know he was being filmed, Blatt said that this sex tape is widely different from those of Paris Hilton, Kim Kardashian, and Farrah Abraham.
“Without both parties’ consent, it’s illegal to put out such a product,” Blatt said, adding that The Child Protection and Obscenity Enforcement Act — more commonly known as Law 2257 — requires a record of both parties consenting to the release of an adult tape.
While Blatt has promoted a number of celebrity sex tapes in the past, he said he had nothing to do with the release of the Hogan tape. He said he was shown two recorded versions of the same encounter. The first tape was what the public saw, and what was edited and posted on Gawker. A second, unreleased video includes more conversation between Hogan and Clem.
On Friday, following a years-long lawsuit between Gawker and two federal agencies, the FBI confirmed the existence of three tapes.
“I still maintain, though," he said, "that [the sex tape] isn’t something people want to see."
Here is one of the motions regarding Blatt:
Mary Ann Georgantopoulos is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
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