'Sorry' not hard enough for Sir Elton

By Dominic Ponsford

In what could be termed a case of “tantrums and tiaras”, the Press Complaints Commission has thrown out a complaint against the Daily Mirror brought by Sir Elton John.

John complained to the PCC after the Mirror reported that he had “put together” a book on Versace in a story on 24 May.

Despite John’s lawyers pointing out to the Mirror that this was untrue, the mistake was repeated in another article two days later.

Mirror editor Piers Morgan immediately wrote to John apologising for what he admitted was a “uniquely incompetent act” and promised that the offending sub-editor would be “frogmarched naked to the top of Canary Wharf Tower, where he will be beheaded”. He also printed a correction in the paper’s For The Record slot.

Not impressed by Morgan’s apology, John’s lawyers decided to lodge a formal complaint with the PCC.

In it, they stated: “No doubt Mr Morgan intended the letter to be humorous but its tone tends to reinforce the apparent lack of seriousness with which the Daily Mirror views its actions.” Morgan responded with a feisty fax to the musician’s lawyers, slamming their “pathetic, childish, toys-out-of-the-pram crapÉ tantrums and tiaras darlings? Stick them where the sun don’t shine.”

The dispute was settled this week when the PCC decided the Mirror editor had resolved the matter by apologising and publishing a correction.

Morgan said: “It seems to me to highlight the absurdity of how far some celebrities are prepared to go on matters of shocking minutiae and disinterest to anybody but themselves.

“This complaint centred on a very small inaccuracy that had no material effect on the story. If the PCC had upheld this one, we might as well have all packed our bags and gone home.”

The letters in full:

1. Piers Morgan to Sir Elton John

2. Piers Morgan to Frank Presland

3. Marcus Partington, MGN solicitor, to the PCC

4. PCC to Marcus Partington

5. Marcus Partington to the PCC

6. PCC to Piers Morgan

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