James Bond films producer Barbara Broccoli has won substantial libel damages and an apology from both the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday over stories which suggested she had improperly obtained a grant from the UK Film Council.
The action stems from a story headlined: "Axed film quango gave £70m to own members" which appeared in the Mail on Sunday on 15 August, 2010. According to a statement read out in open court yesterday, the allegation was repeated the following day in the Daily Mail's Peter McKay column under the heading: "Charity that really must start at home."
- October 28, 2016
- November 4, 2013
- September 17, 2013
The stories suggested that Broccoli, as a board member of the UK Film Council, improperly awarded her company First Light a huge grant of public money.
The High Court heard that the "truth" is that Broccoli has no financial or ownership interest in First Light, which is a registered charity, and that in fact she donates money to it.
Her solicitor Michael Skrein, from Reed Smith, said: "So, she did not award herself or her own company any grant whilst a board member of the UK Film Council and she has not misused public funds.
"The offending publications were deeply upsetting to the claimant and her family and harmful to her reputation."
The court heard that the allegations were repeated elsewhere online, including on The Guardian's Comment Is Free website.
Mail publisher Associated Newspapers told the court that it had no intention to cause Broccoli "any wrongoing" and noted that it had made an offer of amends.
Associated Newspapers has said it will publish apologies to Broccoli in the Daily Mail and the Mail on Sunday.
Broccoli said: "It was very important for me to get the correction. I am pleased that a formal statement has been read in open court and apologies will be printed in the Mail on Sunday, Daily Mail and Mail Online.
"I am also pleased that Associated is paying damages. I am very committed to my work with the charity, First Light and am delighted that all of these damages will assist in funding film-making projects for kids from all backgrounds across the country."