The Daily Mail has agreed to pay Sir Elton John £100,000 in libel damages over false claims that he had issued an edict to guests invited to his White Tie and Tiara charity ball last year, telling them not to speak to him unless he approached them.
At a hearing in the High Court, Nigel Tait of Carter-Ruck told Mr Justice Eady that no such "bizarre and absurd" edict was issued and that Sir Elton had greeted guests as they arrived at the event.
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Associated Newspapers has publicly apologised to Sir Elton and has agreed to pay him £100,000 in damages for libel. On 24 June 2005, the Daily Mail published articles under the headings "Senora Spice Goes Flamenco" and "Speak only when you are spoken to, Sir Elton tells his party guests".
Tait told the court: "The articles falsely alleged that Sir Elton had issued a bizarre and absurd edict to guests invited to his annual charity fundraising White Tie and Tiara summer ball, ordering them not to approach him during the event, thereby acting like old-fashioned royalty or some tinpot dictator and exhibiting self-important, arrogant and rude behaviour bordering on paranoia.
"In fact not only was no such edict issued at all, Sir Elton greets each guest as they arrive at the ball, not least to thank them for helping him with his fundraising efforts."
The court was told that the story had caused Sir Elton considerable embarrassment and distress, particularly because it was false and he feared it would damage the fundraising effort of the Elton John AIDS Foundations. The White Tie and Tiara ball raises at least £3 million a year for the foundations.
Following a complaint from Sir Elton's lawyers, the Daily Mail promptly published an apology. Associated has agreed to pay Sir Elton's costs. He has donated the damages to the Elton John AIDS Foundations.
Photo: Mick Hutson/Idols