The singer Morrissey is set to sue the New Musical Express over an interview which appeared in this week’s magazine, his lawyers said today.
The former Smiths frontman’s solicitors have given the IPC Media-owned weekly until 1pm yesterday to apologise for the interview, which the singer believes is an inaccurate representation of his beliefs, or they will bring legal legal proceedings through London’s High Court. The dispute centres around comments Morrissey was reported as making on the subjects of immigration and the loss of England’s identity.
Tony English, from Russells solicitors, said yesterday: ‘The NME had until 1pm today to provide a suitable apology to Morrissey. Their only response to this deadline was to say that they ‘do not have time to respond to the allegations’.
‘We, Russells, are in the process of issuing legal proceedings for defamation on behalf of Morrissey against the NME and its editor Conor McNichols which will be served tomorrow.”
Russells said the article implied, falsely, that Morrissey was ‘racist’and that he was ‘shocked and horrified’by the piece.
The journalist who wrote the piece, Tim Jonze, apparently asked for his name to be taken off the article.
An email to the Morrissey fansite True to You, which purports to be from Jonze, said: ‘I should mention that for reasons I’ll probably never understand, NME have rewritten the Moz [Morrissey] piece. I had a read and virtually none of it is my words or beliefs so I’ve asked for my name to be taken off it. Just so you know when you read it.”
The article is attributed as ‘interview – Tim Jonze, words – NME”.
Tim Parish, IPC’s legal advisor, wrote a letter in response to Russells’s allegations.
He wrote: ‘I do not have time to respond here to the allegations contained in your letter, which, for the record, are not admitted. However I can assure you that we will retain the transcript of the interview pending any trial.”
He said that the tape recording was not in the magazine’s possession, so ‘there is therefore no point in you applying for an injunction”. He said Jonze is currently in Thailand and cannot not be contacted.
Also in a letter posted on True to You, McNicols describes himself as a Morrissey fan and admits it would be ‘mad’to paint him as a acist.