FROM Roy Simon
Peter Thiel, Revenge and Litigation Finance Peter Thiel is a man of many interests. He made billions of dollars as a co-founder of PayPal and an early investor in Facebook. Lately he’s been spreading the wealth in interesting ways. Thiel gives fellowships to teenagers who drop out of school to start companies; he co-founded the Seasteading Institute, an organization that wants to create cities at sea, out of the reach of any government; he’s a pledged delegate for Donald Trump. And news surfaced this week that he’s bankrolling a legal campaign to destroy Gawker Media. As it turns out, Thiel secretly funded Hulk Hogan’s invasion-of-privacy lawsuit against Gawker after the site posted a sex tape of Hogan. A jury awarded Hogan $140 million dollars. According to the New York Times, Thiel is also supporting other cases, though he won’t disclose what they are. He’s not the only person to secretly back a lawsuit like this, though. The practice of litigation finance is becoming more common.
Twists and turns on Capitol Hill What’s the political fallout over the GOP health care bill? The investigation into Russia’s ties to the Trump campaign also took another twist today. And, will Democrats filibuster Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch?
Ryan Murphy on how his Half Foundation led to 'Feud' Ryan Murphy oversees a small TV empire on FX, with series including American Horror Story, American Crime Story and his latest effort, Feud. The first cycle of that show focuses on the rivalry between movie icons Joan Crawford and Bette Davis. On all his shows, Murphy now has a strict rule: at least half of the directors and crew members must be women or minorities.
California congressmen clash over Russian meddling Two California congressmen are at the center of the investigation into possible ties between President Trump’s campaign and Russia. Republican Devin Nunes, chair of the House Intelligence Committee, is a Central Valley dairy farmer. His Democratic counterpart is Adam Schiff, a Los Angeles former prosecutor.
James Mangold on 'Logan' and fighting franchise fatigue Filmmaker James Mangold has been making character-driven dramas for more than 20 years, but lately, he's been in the X-Men superhero business. In his latest film, Logan, Hugh Jackman plays the slashing Marvel mutant one last time, so Mangold wanted to make something more nuanced than the usual comic-book movie.