Actor Neil Morrissey is demanding damages of £100,000 over a Daily Mail story claiming he had been banned from a French bar for rowdy and drunken behaviour.
Morrissey has accused publishers Associated Newspapers of making defamatory allegations in the March story headed ‘Man behaving badly: TV star banned from bar near his idyllic French retreat after locals object to ‘le binge drinking'”.
He is also suing over an online version of the same story which alleged he had been banned from one of the most popular bars near his home in France because of his drunken behaviour. The story also claimed he was a bad influence who encouraged anti-social binge drinking.
In a High Court writ, Morrissey said the claims injured his reputation and caused him embarrassment and distress. He also argued that a £500,000 valuation of his home made in the article was damaging because he had made an individual voluntary arrangement with his creditors, and the figure suggested he had given a false undervaluation of the property.
Before the story was run his solicitors emailed the paper saying he had no knowledge of any poster referring to him being displayed in the bar, denied being drunken or rowdy, and insisted he had only had a couple of drinks.
He also raised concerns that the paper should not disclose the location of his French home because it would infringe his right to privacy, and that the paper published pictures of his home.
Morrissey said the stories were published despite these denials, and that he was further insulted by the fact they were dismissed by the paper and not included in the story.The paper had also insulted and embarrassed him by implicitly dismissing his assertion that £500,000 was an overvaluation for his home as a lie, and exposed him to embarrassment and distress by publishing the claim.
The paper took four weeks to respond to two letters of complaint and then disingenuously claimed the stories had been sympathetic to him, he alleges. Morrissey is seeking damages and aggravated damages, and an injunction banning repetition of the allegations at the centre of his lawsuit.