Bandanas in the Courtroom

Anna M. Phillips, a writer for the Tampa Bay Times (warning: the Tampa Bay Times website at the previous link has an annoying video ad that starts automatically when you click on the link), is reporting that a county judge will allow former professional wrestler “Hulk Hogan” to sport a bandana in the courtroom during his invasion-of-privacy trial against the website Gawker, which is scheduled to go to trial next week. In addition, the judge ruled that the Hulkster must be called by his geeky real name, Terry Gene Bollea, during the trial proceedings:

Circuit Judge Pamela Campbell said on Monday that she will permit him one “plain bandana,” presumably ruling out the varieties for sale at his Clearwater Beach gift shop, emblazoned with the words “Hulkamania” and “Hulk Still Rules.” There’s no word yet on whether he will have to wear sleeves in the courtroom. * * * Bollea’s case against Gawker has been winding its way through the courts here for more than two years, and a two-week trial has been scheduled to begin in St. Petersburg next Monday. At its core, it’s a case about whether Gawker’s decision to publish one minute and 41 seconds of a roughly 30-minute sex tape violated Bollea’s right to privacy. His attorneys maintain that the video, which shows him having sex with Heather Cole — at the time, the wife of his best friend, radio shock jock Bubba the Love Sponge Clem — was made without his knowledge.

Does the common law tort of invasion of privacy apply to celebrities–to public figures or “fame whores” like Hulk Hogan or Kim Kardashian who actually enjoy being in the media spotlight? Bonus Question: Who owns the legal rights to this video? Gawker, Hulk Hogan Mr Bollea, Ms Cole, or Bubba the Love Sponge?

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