Laurence Fox ordered to pay £90,000 in libel damages to Drag Race star

Laurence Fox, pictured.

Political pundit and former actor Laurence Fox has been ordered to pay a total of £180,000 to two men he called paedophiles, during an argument on social media.

Fox was sued by former Stonewall trustee Simon Blake and RuPaul’s Drag Race UK star Crystal in 2020 after an exchange on X/Twitter.

During the argument, sparked by Fox’s disdain for the supermarket chain Sainsbury’s after a Black History Month celebration post, the Reclaim Party founder called the two men, as well as Coronation Street star Nicola Thorp, paedophiles.

In January, high court judge Mrs Justice Collins Rice ruled Fox’s statement was “harmful, defamatory and baseless” after the former Lewis star tried to counter sue the pair for calling him a racist. The counter claims were dismissed at the same time.

Laurence Fox pictured at a campaign event for his Uxbridge election bid.
Laurence Fox. (Getty)

The judge did not make a ruling on whether describing Mr Fox as “a racist” was “substantially true”, after finding the three tweets in his counter claim were unlikely to cause serious harm to his reputation, the BBC reported.

A subsequent ruling issued on Thursday (25 April) ordered him to pay Blake and Drag Race star Crystal, whose real name is Colin Seymour, £90,000 each.

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“By calling Mr Blake and Mr Seymour paedophiles, Mr Fox subjected them to a wholly undeserved public ordeal,” the judge said on Thursday. “It was a gross, groundless and indefensible libel, with distressing and harmful real-world consequences for them.”

“They are entitled by law to an award of money, to compensate them for those damaging effects, and to ensure that they can put this matter behind them, vindicated and confident that no one can sensibly doubt their blamelessness of that disgusting slur and that they were seriously wronged by it,” she added.

“They have been forced to fight a libel claim all the way through to trial with every conceivable point being taken against them. They have done so under the sustained hailstorm of Mr Fox’s exercise of his rights to amplified free speech.

“If they, or at any rate Mr Seymour, have sometimes tried to make their own voices heard above the din and exercise their own rights to free speech, that has been an occasion of further hailstones.”

There was “no element” of punishment for Mr Fox in the judgement, with the damages due “purely compensatory”, the court was told.

Speaking to PinkNews following the ruling in January, Seymour said that, following Fox’s remarks, he had received an onslaught of abuse.

A person in drag wearing a pink wig poses infront of a pink background.
Crystal has been awarded £90,000 in damages after being defamed by former actor Laurence Fox. (Provided/Nik Pate)

“It’s horrible,” he said. “It’s been three years of a pretty-non-stop barrage of abuse, especially whenever I put myself in a public sphere where I’m going to be encountering people who aren’t part of the drag community or drag fans or the queer community.”

Fox was also ordered to not repeat the allegations “on pain of being found guilty of contempt of court.” He has previously voiced his disagreement with the January verdict, calling it a bully’s charter.

“Mr Blake and Mr Seymour are legally entitled not to have Mr Fox repeat the same or similar allegations as the one he made: namely, that they are paedophiles,” Rice said.

“He has no right whatever to do so and his track record of public utterances persuades me that this discipline is necessary and proportionate.”