Elton John wins damages over ‘tinpot dictator’ slur

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Gay star Sir Elton John has accepted £100,000 libel damages from the Daily Mail over claims he issued a “bizarre and absurd edict” telling guests at a charity fundraiser not to approach him.

The singer disputed reports in the paper that he had told attendees of his annual White Tie and Tiara charity summer ball to only speak to “speak only when you’re spoken to.”

His solicitor, Nigel Tait, told Mr Justice Eady at the High Court, “The articles falsely alleged that Sir Elton had issued a bizarre and absurd edict to guests invited to his annual charity fundraising White Tie and Tiara summer ball ordering them not to approach him during that event, thereby acting like old-fashioned royalty or some tinpot dictator and exhibiting self-important, arrogant and rude behaviour bordering on paranoia.

“In fact, not only was no such edict issued at all, Sir Elton greets each guest as they arrive and is well-known for chatting to as many people as possible who attend the ball, not least to thank them for helping him with his fundraising efforts.”

The articles were published on June 24 last year in the Daily Mail, on its websites and worldwide under the headings “Senora Spice Goes Flamenco” and “Speak only when you’re spoken to, Sir Elton tells his party guests,” he told the judge.

Mr Tait said: “The articles were also published widely on the internet from the UK and other jurisdictions.

“The White Tie and Tiara ball has raised at least £3 million each year for the Elton John Aids Foundations.

“The story therefore caused Sir Elton considerable embarrassment and distress, particularly because it was false and he feared it would damage the fundraising efforts of the Foundations.”

He said Associated Newspapers, who own the Daily Mail, had agreed to pay “substantial” damages: “The newspaper has also contractually undertaken not to repeat the allegations and has also agreed to pay Sir Elton’s legal costs.”

Matt McKenzie, solicitor for the Newspaper group, said: “The defendant apologises to Sir Elton for the distress it has caused him and for having published these allegations.”

The damages will be donated to the Elton John Aids Foundation.