Food blogger Jack Monroe wins £24k libel damages from Mail Online columnist Katie Hopkins over tweets

A writer has won £24,000 damages in a High Court action against controversial newspaper columnist Katie Hopkins over tweets she said caused “serious harm” to her reputation.

Jack Monroe, a food blogger who also campaigns over poverty issues, sued Hopkins over two “war memorial” tweets, asking a judge in London to find she was “defamed” by the former Apprentice contestant.

Following a recent hearing, Mr Justice Warby ruled in Monroe’s favour.

He ordered Hopkins to pay £107,000 on account of costs within 28 days – the final costs figure has yet to be assessed.

Monroe tweeted: “It”s taken 21 months but today the High Court ruled that Hopkins statements to/about me were defamatory. I sued her for libel. and I won.”

The case arose after Twitter erupted following the daubing of a memorial to the women of the Second World War in Whitehall with the words “F… Tory scum” during an anti-austerity demonstration.

Monroe took legal action over what her lawyer told the judge was a “widely published allegation” that she had “either vandalised a war memorial or approved of such an act”, an allegation that would “inevitably cause serious damage to reputation”.

Hopkins, who currently writes for Mail Online and previously worked for The Sun, had posted: “@MsJackMonroe scrawled on any memorials recently?

“Vandalised the memory of those who fought for your freedom. Grandma got any more medals?”

Jonathan Price, for Hopkins, told the judge her case was “this relatively trivial dispute arose and was resolved on Twitter in a period of several hours”.

He argued “no lasting harm, and certainly no serious harm”, to Monroe’s reputation resulted from it.

Hopkins had “mistakenly” used Monroe’s Twitter handle instead of that of another columnist who had tweeted about the war memorial incident.

But Mr Justice Warby ruled “whilst the claimant may not have proved that her reputation suffered gravely, I am satisfied that she has established that the publications complained of caused serious harm to her reputation”.

He said their publication “not only caused Ms Monroe real and substantial distress, but also harm to her reputation which was serious”.

The judge concluded: “Ms Monroe is entitled to fair and reasonable compensation, which I assess at £24,000.”

Hopkins will also have to pay legal fees to Monroe which are expected to be well into six figures.

Speaking after the decision was announced, Monroe said: “I am very relieved that it is over and done with.

“It has been a very long and very arduous process. There have been many times when I have almost given up and walked away. But I started something and I had to see it through, and I have done.”

Monroe’s lawyer, Mark Lewis, a partner at Seddons solicitors, said she had “finally been vindicated in full from the libellous and wholly false accusation by Katie Hopkins that she had supported the vandalisation of a war memorial”.

He added: “Jack Monroe never did, and coming from a proud military family, never would.

“Despite pointing this out to Katie Hopkins within minutes of her first tweet wrongly accusing Jack, Hopkins did not apologise.

“Rather the self-styled ‘rent-a-gob’ defiantly posted another defamatory tweet. The price of not saying sorry has been very high.

“Despite repeated opportunities to back down, Hopkins obstinately refused to apologise, instead conducting her defence by slinging as much mud as she could to hide the fact that she had made this false allegation.”

He added: “Hopkins has had to pay out of her own pocket a six-figure sum in damages and costs for a tweet that should have been deleted within minutes as soon as she was told it was wrong. On this occasion, the cost of renting that gob was particularly high.

“Hopkins claimed that Twitter was just the wild west where anything goes. The judge has shown that there is no such thing as a Twitter outlaw.”

Read the ruling in full

Comments

9 thoughts on “Food blogger Jack Monroe wins £24k libel damages from Mail Online columnist Katie Hopkins over tweets”

  1. I read that thread and it seemed different to me.

    The first Tweet was a mistake and once Jack responded with her angry Tweet – not her- and ending her comment with ‘ you piece of sh*t’ Katie Hopkins said ‘oh Twitter she had been confused or wrong .’ or words to that effect, and so I understood that she did not mean Jack and had made a mistake.

    Jack pursed Hopkins for an apology or the law courts and at some point Hopkins came back with a Second Tweet, which I read as her meaning both Monroe and Penny Red were equally irritating. I didn’t think she was repeating the First Tweet, but that she was responding to being called ‘a piece of sh*t’ by Munroe.

    The Munroe response to the mistake made in the First Tweet by Hopkins has quiet an intimidating feel about it, the ‘ you piece of sh*t’ taking the argument onto a a whole new level.

    Later she will taunt Hopkins with being a liar, though she knew that was not true, – she wasn’t – she was mistaken – Munroe knew she was mistaken, so she wasn’t a liar. She made a mistake. it ‘s a mistake because it wasn’t intentional.

    Some of Jack Munroe’s reputation is made on as she says herself ‘ being well known for saying the unsayable’ yet its a monologue where she can say the unsayable but nothing unsayable should be said back to her. thats a very autocratic position and an extraordinary privilege.- somebody who claims for themselves the right to state the unsayable must surely grant the same right to others, or forgo that right.

    Her right to say the unsayable: have included the right to comment that the train company she was in a dispute with ‘ were lucky she didn’t fu**ing break the door down’
    To take a dead child and comment how his politician father was using his child to further his own political position. –
    and she is described ‘as foul mouthed, and witty’ by a reporter.

    That does amount to a reputation: a reputation for being gobby, for being cruelly wounding, and with a promise of physical threat. Which part of that reputation deserves an apology?

    What happened on that Twitter feed as I was reading it was, Katie Hopkins made a Tweet she wrongly identified Jack Monroe instead of Penny Red.
    Jack responded very angrily, ending her tweet with a description of Hopkins as a ‘piece of sh*T
    Hopkins instantly or very quickly it seemed to me saw she had the wrong twitter handle said so , said she had been confused .
    Jack pursued her for an apology or and a court action.

    The second Tweet from Hopkins was read by me as a response to being called a ‘piece of sh*it’. she was wrong and she made a mistake. but its galling to be abused as well.

    After Jacks abuse of her, the second Tweet I read as Hopkins saying that both Penny and Jack were equally irritating, which i think at least has the benefit of being true.

    So that is how I following the thread read the second Tweet. of Katie Hopkins.

    an angry response to being called a ‘piece of sh*t’ and finding both of them Penny and Jack equally irritating.

    it was a very good riposte from somebody who was flat on her face only a while before. and being abused by a triumphant Jack seizing on the moment of a mistake made by Hopkins.

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