The Sun on Sunday has won a legal battle to report on Elton John’s out-of-court settlement with a former employee over sexual harassment claims.
The singer spent four months trying to stop news of the claim against him from getting out, hiring lawyers in an attempt to keep his name off court documents and have hearings held in private, according to The Sun.
After lawyers for the paper argued granting the married father-of-two anonymity contradicted the principle of British open justice, the London Employment Tribunal Service ruled the existence of the legal action could be made public.
The Sun revealed the outcome on Saturday in an exclusive story revealing John, real name Reginald Dwight, had “struck a last-minute deal” over the claims by his former employee, which have since been withdrawn.
It said the singer then attempted to gag reports to keep the deal secret, though to have cost him six figures in legal fees.
A Sun on Sunday spokesman said: “This case raised a fundamental issue of a free press being able to report legal cases against celebrities with deep pockets and armies of expensive lawyers who want to keep even the fact of such litigation against them from the public.
“The Sun on Sunday does not suggest the claims, which we accept were denied by Sir Elton and which were subsequently withdrawn, are true. We simply wanted to report the fact the case had been settled.
“The Sun on Sunday refused to be cowed and are delighted the courts have backed our right to free speech and our readers’ right to know.
“Celebrities need to know we will fight for the right to report cases lodged at courts and tribunals.”