Thursday, 16 December 2010

Mail apologises to Matt Lucas

In August, Matt Lucas launched a privacy claim against the Daily Mail for its article 'How Matt Lucas learnt to laugh again'. This followed a successful privacy action taken against the Daily Star.

As the Press Gazette reported at the time:

According to a writ filed at the High Court, the Mail’s story left Lucas upset, distressed and annoyed.

The journalist who wrote the story and other editorial staff, the writ adds, could not have failed to realise the “very serious invasion of privacy and intrusion into grief it represented”.

Lucas contends that close relatives and friends quoted in the story did not make the statements attributed to them and that much of the information was false.

It was also claimed that the Mail had, typically, refused to acknowledge any problem with the article:

Lucas, who instructed London law firm Schillings to act on his behalf, said Associated Newspapers, owner of the Mail, had refused to apologise or accept the story should not have been published.

What a difference a few months and a legal action make, because the Mail has now apologised:

An article (March 1) ‘How Matt Lucas learned to laugh again’ caused great upset to Mr Lucas which we did not intend and regret.

The article on Mr Lucas’ return to public life following the tragic death of Kevin McGee suggested he had ignored Kevin’s calls, became a virtual recluse, and hosted a birthday party to ‘move on’.

We accept this was not the case and apologise to Mr Lucas.

This follows an apology and substantial damages which Lucas gained from the Daily Star in May for another invasion of privacy claim.

As with last week's apology to Sophie Dahl, there is no mention of this retraction on the Mail's homepage. Yet, as Minority Thought pointed out a few days ago, the Editor's Code Committee Secretary recently claimed it is a 'myth' to say corrections are buried.

UPDATE - MediaGuardian reports that Lucas has won substantial damages to go with the Mail's apology. And:

Lucas said in a statement: "This has been and continues to be a very difficult time for me and all those who loved Kevin.

"My deep pain and sorrow have been made even greater by the intrusive and defamatory stories made about my private life in the Daily Mail.

"I had no choice but to bring these proceedings to protect my private life and my right to grieve in peace.

"I'd like to add that I take no pleasure or sense of triumph in this settlement. I am just relieved that this case has been resolved and I sincerely hope this sort of intrusive reporting will now end."


  1. When the orginal story was published it featured very prominently on the papers website so surely any apology should receive equal prominence. In reality I suspect any apology will be very small, hidden at the bottom of the page and it will only be there for a few hours.

  2. The Mail has apologized, not for the fact that they printed an article which is little more than ghoulish grief voyeurism, but for certain inaccuracies.

    So if the article had been all correct, in other words, it would have been fine to intrude into someone's grief and tell millions of people about it.


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