Weekly Celebrity Defamation Rundown: Famous People 2, Newspapers, 0

Celebrity Defamation Lawsuits

J.K. Rowling For The Celebrity Defamation Win Against Daily Mail

Once again, Harry Potter novelist, J.K. Rowling, struck it big — this time in the form of a substantial libel settlement.

Towards the end of last year, the Daily Mail published a gossipy article about her pre-Potter days and the alleged “dementoring” she endured at her then-local church. Where’d the Mail get its info? From an essay Rowling had written for Gingerbread – a charity for single mothers.

“If the Mail got the info direct from the wizard-creator’s pen, then how can it be defamatory!?” you protest. Easy: the journalist egregiously mischaracterized Rowling’s essay.

You see, in her missive, Rowling recounted a one-time incident in which a church visitor acted like the second coming of Draco Malfoy. Emphasis on “one-time.” The Daily Mail journalist, however, painted a more recidivist picture and characterized Rowling as complaining about her former congregation, as a whole.

When the Daily Mail’s article hit wires and newsstands, members from Rowling’s old church cried foul over the portrayal. And Rowling herself was peeved – because the Mail mucked up the facts. She had nothing but praise for her former worship friends – save for that one-time visitor.

So, Rowling filed a defamation suit.

Realizing their mistake, the Daily Mail quickly recanted and took responsibility. Regardless, the two parties couldn’t decide on a settlement amount.

Compromising heads, however, prevailed earlier this week and the parties agreed to a “pound amount.” Now, the matter can be filed away in the Daily Mail defamation archives, which, let’s just say, is growing by the month.

United States Defamation Law Spot Check

Would this case have turned out the same in Unites States court? Probably. Though defamation laws in the US and UK are about as wide apart in standards as the ocean between the two countries, this case has all the elements for a successful action on both sides of the pond. Though, in the United States, Rowling may have also claimed “false light” instead of defamation.

Russell Brand Beats Sun on Sunday In Celebrity Defamation Row

For some time, deceptively intelligent Russell Brand has been dating the opposite-Katie Perry (i.e., highly educated, European editor-at-large of Vanity Fair, associate editor at the New Statesmen, doesn’t wear ice-cream-cone bikini-bras to work), Jemima Khan.

Several months ago, though, the Sun on Sunday ran a story that had the potential to ruin the relationship. Brand, the paper reported, was back to his philandering, flirty ways and enjoying an extra-curricular tryst with model Sophie Coady.

Upon publication, Russell Brand vehemently and publicly denied the rumors, then promptly filed a defamation lawsuit — and won.

So now, The Sun has to fork over an undisclosed amount to the boisterous comic. Plus, the paper must print a retraction.

This week’s celebrity defamation Scoreboard: Team Famous Plaintiffs shutouts Team Defendant Print Media.

If you have a slander or libel issue on your hands, and you’re ready to do something about it instead of letting it fester and continue to do damage, then get in touch with Kelly / Warner Law today. Our practice handles all manners of defamation and reputation-related torts – for both private and public figures. Get in touch today to learn more about your legal options.

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