Thursday, 12 January 2012

Mail pays damages to Neil Morrissey

The Daily Mail has paid substantial (five-figure) libel damages to actor Neil Morrissey after a lengthy dispute over their 19 March 2011 article 'Homme behaving badly: TV star banned from bar near his idyllic French retreat after locals object to 'le binge drinking''.

MediaGuardian explains:

The Daily Mail apologised to Morrissey on page 2 in its new corrections and clarifications column and on its website last October.

However, the actor was not satisfied with the apology and applied for permission to make a statement in open court. In the statement read out at the high court in London on Thursday, Morrissey said he now felt "fully vindicated" over the claims.

"The Mail alleged that [a] poster had gone up and Mr Morrissey had been banned because his behaviour had made him unwelcome to the proprietors and staff as a bad influence who encouraged the antisocial and offensive binge drinking for which English settlers had become notorious and were resented by local French people," Peter Crawford, solicitor for Morrissey, told the judge Richard Parks QC.

"Those assertions were not true. Most significantly, Mr Morrissey had not been banned from the bar. Nor had he been drunken or rowdy in the bar."

The 21 October apology published by the Mail said:

An article on 19 March suggested that actor Neil Morrissey had been banned from a French bar for drunken behaviour and encouraging binge-drinking, and that his property was worth £500,000.

While we were shown a poster which indicated that he had been barred, we now accept that none of these allegations are correct. We also accept that local property valuations were overstated. We apologise to Mr Morrissey.

Roy Greenslade highlights Morrissey's statement following today's court proceedings:

"The paper was told before publication that the allegations about me were completely untrue but it went ahead and published anyway."

The Mail's response to my solicitor's complaint took an age but the paper would not back down and I had to issue proceedings.

Eventually, the Mail admitted that the allegations were false and damaging to my reputation. It proved impossible to agree the wording of a suitable retraction and apology but the Mail published its own tiny version of an apology which bore no relation at all to the eye-catching space given to the original article.

The apology, such as it was, won't have reached anything like the same number of people who would have read the original article.

My solicitor read a statement in court today in the hope that the Mail's apology would reach more of its readers."

1 comment:

  1. There is that word "suggested" again. It crops up with astonishing regularity in the Mail's slimy, half-apologies doesn't it?


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