Celebrities get their own back on the gossips

Stars flock to new website that allows them to correct stories they claim are untrue
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The Independent Online

For famous people under the media spotlight, dealing with inaccuracies in a story can be an ongoing problem. Obtaining a correction from a newspaper can be a difficult process, but getting one from the seemingly anonymous and unaccountable websites that repeat the story for years afterwards can be even harder.

Now salvation may be at hand for aggrieved public figures. The website ICorrect.com, launched this week, allows people and organisations to correct any information about them that they believe to be untrue.

The site was set up by Sir David Tang, a Hong Kong-born entrepreneur, who founded the Shanghai Tang clothing chain, which he sold to the Richemont group in 2006.

"I realised that in the past 20 years we have created a cyber world which is much larger than our earth and is expanding like the sun," said Sir David. "And the one extraordinary feature about this cyber world is that 99 per cent of it is hearsay. So if you Google anybody you will get Wikipedia or 24 pages of search and they are all about somebody writing or commenting on somebody else."

He added: "I decided it might not be a bad idea to provide a website exclusively for people who want to set the record straight. So words from the horse's mouth as it were."

But clearing your name doesn't come cheap. It costs $1,500 (£900) a year for individuals and $5,000 for businesses to be registered "correctors". And to confirm the identity of those wishing to correct, a letter from a lawyer or representative is required.

Early entries on the site include corrections from people in the worlds of politics, celebrity, the arts and business.

Cherie Blair used the site to point out that a Daily Mail story suggesting she went on a shooting party with Saif Gaddafi, the son of the Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, was untrue.

The historian Niall Ferguson takes issue with a blog by the Nobel prize-winning economist Paul Krugman claiming he won an argument between them in Korea. In his correction, Ferguson writes: "So comprehensively did Krugman lose this exchange that one Korean newspaper ran the headline the next day: 'A great Nobel Prize winner humiliated like a dog in Korea.'"

Meanwhile it appears Sir David's motivation to set up the site may stem in part from a desire to right untruths written about himself. In the site's first entry he takes the Mail on Sunday to task for saying: "David Tang is a creep." "This," he writes, "is greatly exaggerated".

The claims – and the corrections

Naomi Campbell

Accusation From The Sun: Naomi Campbell reckons Fifa were right to choose Russia to host the 2018 World Cup ahead of England. She said: "Russia is my adopted home and it will be great. Look on the bright side, we got the Olympics."

Correction I have never ever expressed any opinion... about whether Fifa made the right choice. As someone who is proudly British, I totally supported my country and hoped it would be successful. My only comment was that, since Fifa has MADE the decision to stage 2018 in Russia, I truly know and believe that Russia will make a great job of it.

Kevin Spacey

Accusation From The Mirror: Kate Moss is taking the acting world by storm – making her stage debut in The Tempest. The supermodel, 36, has landed a minor role as a nymph in an upcoming version of Shakespeare's play. It follows a series of meetings and phone calls with Kevin Spacey who is overseeing the production as part of the Bridge project at London's Old Vic.

Correction We met at a party but never discussed her working at the Old Vic. There isn't even a role of "Nymph" in The Tempest.

Sir Michael Caine

Accusation "Not many people know that." For the past 40 years, I have always been associated with these words.

Correction I have never said "not many people know that". Peter Sellers said it when he impersonated my voice on his telephone answering machine. His impersonation was: "This is Michael Caine, Peter Sellers is out. Not many people know that." I do not mind something clever being attributed to me, but I do mind something stupid that I did not say or do.

Tommy Hilfiger

Accusation Rumour has it that I claimed to not want black people wearing my clothes. I was [said] to have made this statement on Oprah. It led to accusations that have been equally hurtful and absurd such as me not liking Jewish people, Spanish people and those with brown skin.

Correction These are untrue rumours. First of all, I only appeared on Oprah once when she invited me on the show to rebuke the rumour. Oprah herself said: "This is a big fat lie!!! Tommy never said that so people do not believe this terrible rumour" (this can be viewed on www.tommy.com View source website as well as on YouTube with Oprah making this clear statement).

Jemima Khan

Accusation From various sources: Jemima Goldsmith changed her first name to the Muslim name Haiqa when she got married.

Correction I never changed my first name and if I had, it would not have been for a name, which when said out loud, sounds like you're clearing your throat of phlegm. That's not to say that there aren't lots of lovely Muslim girls names...