Celebrity chef wins damages over claims of drink and drugs binge
Thursday 06 April 2000
The celebrity chef Marco Pierre White won £75,000 High Court libel damages yesterday because two newspapers wrongly claimed he had a binge of drink and drugs.
The judge ordered The New York Times and International Herald Tribune to pay the costs of the three-day hearing, unofficially estimated at £480,000, and to make an interim payment of £160,000 which Mr White, 38, had already given to his solicitors.
Mr White, who marries his long-time girlfriend Mati tomorrow, said he had been defamed in 1998 with a "bombshell" sentence claiming he had a "well-publicised bout with drugs and alcohol".
The chef, of Curzon Street, Mayfair, central London, told the court he was angered and upset. He "very rarely" drank and might have a glass of wine "from time to time" during a social occasion. He added: "I have never taken drugs in my life. I object to drugs. It is just something I don't approve of. I think it's very destructive."
The newspapers accepted there was no truth in their allegation. But they said the article did not defame him because it did not lower his reputation as a chef or abusinessman.
The jury awarded Mr White £15,000 against The New York Times and £60,000 against the International Herald Tribune.
Mr White's counsel, George Carman QC, had said: "It is for me to say of him - but I'm sure he wouldn't say it of himself - he is probably the most outstanding and distinguished restaurateur and chef this country has produced in the last 25 years."
Immense talent, virtually unremitting hard work, ambition and complete passion had brought him success in "full measure". He was the youngest chef to obtain three Michelin stars and the "only Englishman to be so honoured in the gastronomic world".
Mr Carman said the papers hired detectives to dig up any "dirt" on him, stories of "sex and drugs and rock and roll".
Geoffrey Robertson QC, for the newspapers, claimed most of the article was "very positive" and suggested it had enhanced Mr White's reputation, showing he had become "a star in his own firmament".
Lawyers for the papers said they would appeal.
Isis burns woman alive for refusing to engage in 'extreme' sex act, UN says
Purity balls: Girls in the US making virginity pledges as fathers vow to 'protect purity'
Puerto Rico, island of lost dreams: People are leaving the debt-hit territory in droves as near neighbour Cuba's star rises
Female Muay Thai champion hustles coaches to give them a beating
16-year-old girl beaten and burned alive by lynch mob in Rio Bravo, Guatemala
As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
Scotland may have to leave the EU even if it votes to stay in, David Cameron confirms
Report finds that Britain's wages are the most unequal in Europe
The day that Britain resigned as a global power
Almost a third of school pupils believe 'Muslims are taking over our country', study claims
SNP fury as HS2 finds 'no business case' for taking fast train service to Scotland
- 1 Games of Thrones actor Lena Headey makes emotional promise to her unborn daughter
- 2 Isis burns woman alive for refusing to engage in 'extreme' sex act, UN says
- 3 Puerto Rico, island of lost dreams: People are leaving the debt-hit territory in droves as near neighbour Cuba's star rises
- 4 Female Muay Thai champion hustles coaches to give them a beating
- 5 Picture of couple posing with beached dolphin 'that later died' causes outrage