RJ Bell, the “Vegas oddsmaker” in charge of the sports betting website Pregame.com, and subject of a lengthy investigation by Ryan Goldberg on Gawker’s sister website Deadspin, has enlisted Charles J. Harder—the same lawyer who has threatened Gawker over Ashley Feinberg’s reporting on Donald Trump’s hair—to demand a retraction of the article. Meticulously reported over the course of a year, Goldberg’s piece exposed some of Bell and Pregame’s questionable business practices.
Forbes has reported that Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel is funding numerous lawsuits brought by Harder against Gawker Media, which owns Deadspin. Aside from Hulk Hogan’s suit against Gawker, neither Harder nor Thiel have stated which lawsuits in particular are being funded by Thiel. In a May interview with Thiel on his “clandestine war against Gawker,” he told the New York Times that he planned to wage a “deterrence” campaign against Gawker Media, which he believes has “ruined people’s lives for no reason.”
According to email correspondence between Harder and Bell—portions of which the latter forwarded to Goldberg—Harder took just five minutes to decide to he was interested in Bell’s case, and only a few days after that, over a weekend, to get comfortable enough with the matter to put together a 13-page retraction demand in which he asks that Deadspin “immediately publish a full, fair and conspicuous retraction, correction and apology as to each false and defamatory statement” or else risk “immediate litigation.”