Friday, December 12, 2008

Elton loses libel case

A victory for irony as Elton John loses Guardian libel case | Media | The Guardian

Sir Elton John is well known for his quick temper and outrageous behaviour. A documentary of his life said it all - it was called, knowingly, Tantrums and Tiaras.

But a high court judge ruled yesterday that the singer's sense of humour failure over a satirical piece by a Guardian columnist was a tantrum too far.

In a groundbreaking libel decision, the judge said that "irony" and "teasing" do not amount to defamation. The ruling offers protection to writers of satirical articles clearly not meant to be taken seriously and was welcomed last night by media lawyers and journalists.

The Guardian was awarded costs and the singer, who brought the action, was refused leave to appeal by Mr Justice Tugendhat. John's legal team indicated that he might now seek leave to appeal.

John brought the action following the publication in Guardian Weekend magazine, in July this year, of a spoof diary written by Marina Hyde. "A peek at the diary of Sir Elton John" recorded his fictional thoughts about his annual White Tie and Tiara ball, which raises millions of pounds for the Elton John Aids Foundation.