Disney paying at least $177 million to settle "pink slime" lawsuit

In a footnote on the company's quarterly earnings report on Tuesday, Disney said it paid $177 million that was "incurred in connection with the settlement of litigation," at least some of which was related to a years-long legal dispute with South Dakota-based meat processor Beef Products Inc.

Disney has not specified exactly what it spent the $177 million on -- some of it may represent money that went to legal costs and other related items, as well as other legal disputes -- but a lawyer for BPI told CNNMoney that its settlement was worth even more than $177 million.

Spokespeople for both ABC News and Disney did not respond to a request for comment.

Even just $177 million would likely represent roughly a year's worth of advertising revenue for ABC's evening news program, a significant sum for the network and a sign of how damaging defamation suits can be for media outlets after the Hulk Hogan case sent Gawker into bankruptcy.

Leonard Niehoff, a law professor at the University of Michigan who specializes in First Amendment cases, said that Disney's settlement could embolden others to bring more suits against media companies.

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