Russell Brand has won substantial libel damages from the Rupert Murdoch-owned Sun newspaper over an article that claimed he cheated on girlfriend Jemima Khan.
In a front page story published Nov. 17, 2013, Sun on Sunday reported that the comedian was having an affair with model Sophie Coady. Upon seeing the story, Brand immediately wrote to the newspaper, informing editors that their information was incorrect.
“The claimant’s distress was increased as a result of the defendant’s initial refusal to remove the article from the newspaper’s website, or to withdraw the allegations and publish an apology”, Brand’s lawyer told the court.
In his defense, Brand also wrote a scathing post for the Guardian about the incident, calling Murdoch “an animatronic al-Qaida recruitment poster.” He wrote: “The pain, disruption and distress, that the Sun inflicted by falsely claiming that I cheated on my girlfriend, in the context of such awesome corruption, is a pale liver-spot on the back of Murdoch’s glabrous claw.”
The 38-year-old sued the newspaper for libel in January. He won the unspecified damages — which are believed to be at least five figures — last month and has now formally accepted the decision in London’s High Court.
In addition to the monetary settlement — which Brand intends to donate to the Hillsborough Justice Campaign — the paper’s publisher also apologized to the actor for the “embarrassment” the article caused.
“The defendant now accepts these claims are in fact totally untrue and defamatory and that these claims should never have been published,” Brand’s lawyer said.