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
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
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

Recruitment Genius: Bookkeeper

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: One of the world's leading suppliers and manuf...

Recruitment Genius: Multiple Apprentices Required

£6240 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Apprentices are required to join a privat...

Sauce Recruitment: HR Manager

£40000 per annum: Sauce Recruitment: This is an exciting opportunity for a HR...

Ashdown Group: Interim HR Manager - 3 Month FTC - Henley-on-Thames

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A well-established organisation oper...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee