British tabloid apologises and pays J.K. Rowling for false story published

11 May 2014 / 2 years 10 months ago

ST Communities 
Friday, May 09, 2014

The Daily Mail has printed an apology to author J.K. Rowling, saying it has agreed to pay her "substantial damages" over an article about her as a single mother, reports said.

Rowling had sued the newspaper for libel last January after it ran the article suggesting that she told a false story that members of her church had taunted her for being a single mother on welfare during the time when she was raising her little daughter Jessica, now 20.

The Mail's report, published on Sept 27 last year was titled, "How JK's sob story about her single mother past surprised and confused the church members who cared for her".

It said Rowling had falsely accused fellow churchgoers of stigmatising her for being a single mother.

According to the BBC, Rowling said in documents filed at the High Court that she believed the story was "premised on a false picture" of an article she had written 10 days earlier for Gingerbread, a single parents' charity. In the article, she wrote about her time as a single parent and working part time in a church in Edinburgh, Scotland.

She said in court papers that she had not accused fellow churchgoers of "stigmatising" or "cruelly taunting her", but had only recounted one incident when a woman visited the church one day and taunted her.

She said the Mail had been "misleading" and "unfair" in its story. In its apology printed last Wednesday, the Mail said it accepted that the author had not made any false claims and apologised for the suggestion.

It said it was paying "substantial damages" to Rowling, which she is donating to charity, and a contribution to her legal costs.

The newspaper admitted liability last January, agreeing to apologise and pay damages.

However it disputed details of the settlement, which involved Rowling making a court statement about the case, the BBC reported.

Last month, a High Court judge ruled that she could make the statement, saying there was "no sufficient reason" for the Mail's publishers, Associated Newspapers, to refuse permission to read it.

A date has yet to be set for Rowling to make the statement in court.

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