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Laurence Fox sued for defamation over ‘paedophile’ tweets

Last year Laurence Fox, actor turned aspiring Mayor of London, called Simon Blake, CEO of Mental Health First Aid England and deputy chair of Stonewell, and Crystal, a star of RuPaul’s Drag Race, ‘paedophiles’ in now-deleted tweets in a row over his boycott of Sainsbury’s due to its support of Black History Month. In a separate, now-deleted tweet, he also called actress Nicola Thorp a ‘paedophile’. Our Head of Media & Privacy, Steven Heffer, comments.

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Published 7 April 2021

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“In order to sue for libel you need to show evidence of serious harm to your reputation. This may not be possible if the allegation is not taken seriously by members of the public or is considered to be trivial.

There needs to be a defamatory imputation which lowers the person in the eyes of right thinking people. In most cases, insults are not actionable. This allegation however, is a potentially serious libel which could cause serious harm to the reputation of the recipient, depending on the evidence.

It is not always clear whether the action should be classed as defamation as it can sometimes be regarded as a simple insult. For example, Elon musk avoided having to pay damages for making a similar allegation but the proceedings were in the US. It is uncertain whether an English Judge would reach the same conclusion.

It is worth noting that there is a one year time limit for bringing a libel claim in England and Wales.”

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Shorter Reads

Laurence Fox sued for defamation over ‘paedophile’ tweets

Last year Laurence Fox, actor turned aspiring Mayor of London, called Simon Blake, CEO of Mental Health First Aid England and deputy chair of Stonewell, and Crystal, a star of RuPaul’s Drag Race, ‘paedophiles’ in now-deleted tweets in a row over his boycott of Sainsbury’s due to its support of Black History Month. In a separate, now-deleted tweet, he also called actress Nicola Thorp a ‘paedophile’. Our Head of Media & Privacy, Steven Heffer, comments.

Published 7 April 2021

Associated sectors / services

Authors

“In order to sue for libel you need to show evidence of serious harm to your reputation. This may not be possible if the allegation is not taken seriously by members of the public or is considered to be trivial.

There needs to be a defamatory imputation which lowers the person in the eyes of right thinking people. In most cases, insults are not actionable. This allegation however, is a potentially serious libel which could cause serious harm to the reputation of the recipient, depending on the evidence.

It is not always clear whether the action should be classed as defamation as it can sometimes be regarded as a simple insult. For example, Elon musk avoided having to pay damages for making a similar allegation but the proceedings were in the US. It is uncertain whether an English Judge would reach the same conclusion.

It is worth noting that there is a one year time limit for bringing a libel claim in England and Wales.”

Associated sectors / services

Authors

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