Gawker, Heather Clem, Bubba the Love Sponge, Hulk Hogan sex tape scandal: Is lawsuit self-promotion?

TAMPA - Hulk Hogan, also known as Terry Bollea, and Bubba the Love the Sponge, also known as Todd Clem, are two of the most well-known personalities in the Tampa Bay area.

They were also best buddies, until, they said, a video surfaced. 

Taken six years ago, the video shows Hogan having sex with Bubba's then wife, Heather Clem.

Hogan claims that Bubba released the video to Gawker Media.  Now, Hogan has filed two lawsuits, and fueled lots of talk.

Action News asked attorney Stephen Crawfrod to look at the lawsuits.  "Look at who we got here:  Bubba the Love Sponge and Hulk Hogan.  It is, quite frankly, hard to take them seriously about anything," said Crawford.

Crawford's not involved in the case, but has practiced in the bay area for decades.  He believes questioning the men's motives is a fair question.

"So you have to kind of wonder.  Is this is a publicity lawsuit that will be dismissed or settled down the road in a confidential manner and we will never know?  Or is this is a serious attempt to try and keep the rest of this video out of the public domain?" questioned Crawford.

Lisa Brock who owns Brock Communications agreed.  She does not represent either men, but does have high-profile clients in the bay area.

"You do have to wonder, at the end of the day, what's it really all about, and who is really going to gain from this exposure?" Brock asked.

Both Crawford and Brock point to the the men's history in the media. Neither are strangers. Hogan with his reality show and then his high-profile divorce.

Bubba actually went to trial in early 2000 on animal cruelty charges for castrating a pig live on air, with many calling the act a huge publicity stunt. He was acquitted.

But, both Crawford and Brock admit, actually filing a lawsuit raises the stakes.

"The cards I can see, it looks like a lawsuit," said Brock.

"When you are saying 'someone defamed me,' you are opening your life up to be asked a lot of personal questions," said Crawford

Stephen Diaco, Bubba's attorney said this lawsuit is "in no way a stunt."

Dianco also said "Bubba will also continue to defend himself until Terry (Hogan) stops targeting him."

Bubba is scheduled to appear on the Howard Stern radio talk show Wednesday and may talk to local media afterwards.

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