Naomi Campbell wins damages over false story she was planning to organise an elephant polo match

 

Supermodel Naomi Campbell accepted “substantial” libel damages at the High Court today over a false story that she was planning to organise an elephant polo match in India for her partner's birthday.

Her lawyer, Gideon Benaim, told a judge in London that the article in the Daily Telegraph last November reported "detailed criticisms made of these plans by the animal rights group Peta, who were said to have launched a personal attack on Ms Campbell for promoting animal cruelty".

Mr Benaim told Mr Justice Eady that the story was "simply false and the criticisms unfounded" - there were never any plans for an elephant polo tournament at the 50th birthday celebrations in Jodhpur.

Ms Campbell, 42, was not present in court, but said in a statement: "There were never plans to hold an elephant polo tournament, so the allegations should not have been published.

"However, I am glad that the matter has been resolved and I accept the newspaper's apology."

Mr Benaim said readers of the newspaper were told that elephant polo was cruel and depended upon "violent abuse" of the animals by the trainers, and that they were "constantly kept in chains" and "driven insane" by their treatment.

Ms Campbell had "neither organised nor requested the organisation of any such tournament".

Her action was brought against Telegraph Media Group, publisher of the Daily Telegraph.

Mr Benaim told the judge: "Regrettably, the defendant's journalists made no effort to contact Ms Campbell in advance of publishing this story: had they done so they would have been told that the story was untrue.

"The claimant's lawyers contacted the defendant on the morning of November 3, 2012 to request that the story be taken down from its website and that an apology and correction be published.

"However, the defendant failed to take the article down for a day and a half, and the story was republished widely in the Indian press and elsewhere, including over the internet, attracting a storm of adverse publicity against Ms Campbell."

He said that "any suggestion that the claimant was promoting animal cruelty or was knowingly or recklessly indifferent to the violent abuse or other physical or mental suffering caused to elephants as a result of their training or transportation for elephant polo is wholly unfounded".

"The defendant is here today by its solicitor to withdraw such imputations unreservedly and to apologise publicly to Ms Campbell for the damage and distress caused by its article, for its failure to put the story to her in advance and for its failure to offer a prompt apology and correction subsequently.

"It has agreed to pay Ms Campbell a substantial sum in damages as well as her legal costs."

Julia Varley, for the publisher, told Mr Justice Eady: "I wish to associate myself on behalf of the defendant with everything that has been said by Gideon Benaim for the claimant and to repeat the defendant's regrets."

The damages sum was not disclosed in court.

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Ashdown Group: HR Manager - West London - £50,000

£40000 - £50000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: HR Manager - West London - £...

Recruitment Genius: Recruitment & HR Administrator

£17000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Guru Careers: HR Manager / HR Business Partner

£55 - 65k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: A HR Manager / HR Business Partner i...

Recruitment Genius: Senior HR Assistant

£23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Company's vision is to be t...

Day In a Page

Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

Heavy weather

What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

World Bodypainting Festival 2015

Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

Don't call us nerds

Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high
How to find gold: The Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge

How to find gold

Steve Boggan finds himself in the Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge
Singing accents: From Herman's Hermits and David Bowie to Alesha Dixon

Not born in the USA

Lay off Alesha Dixon: songs sound better in US accents, even our national anthem
10 best balsamic vinegars

10 best balsamic vinegars

Drizzle it over salad, enjoy it with ciabatta, marinate vegetables, or use it to add depth to a sauce - this versatile staple is a cook's best friend
Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

No hope and no jobs in Gaza

So the young risk their lives and run for it
Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

Fashion apps

Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'