Johnny Vegas sues Guardian and Observer over 'grope' story

Comedian Johnny Vegas has begun libel proceedings against Guardian News & Media over two articles which claimed he had molested a woman during a stand-up performance.

At the centre of the libel claim is a piece by Mary O’Hara, published in the Guardian’s G2 section on 1 May, headlined: ‘Since when is sexual assault funny?”

O’Hara, who was in the audience at Vegas’s gig at the Bloomsbury Theatre in London, claimed in her report that the comedian ‘gratuitously groped a woman on stage”.

The comedian is also suing over a follow-up comment piece in the Observer on 4 May, written by comedian Jackie Clune and headlined: ‘Sorry, but that really isn’t funny, Johnny”.

Vegas has hired law giant Schillings to bring the action against the Guardian and Observer publisher. The two pieces have since been removed from the Guardian website.

A Guardian spokeswoman told Press Gazette: “We’ve received a complaint from his solicitors and we are investigating it.”

In an interview for the BBC‘s Friday Night with Jonathan Ross, Vegas said: ‘There was a big report in the Guardian – it was quite a serious report. It’s really hard to talk about. It suggested that I molested somebody on stage.

He added: ‘A massive part of my act has always been involving my audience. If somebody comes along and doesn’t find it funny, that’s one thing, but unfortunately this person came along and tried to suggest that something much darker had gone on which is quite upsetting to me.’

A Schillings spokeswoman declined to comment.

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