Elton wins £100,000 damages over 'bizarre edict' claim

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Sir Elton John accepted £100,000 libel damages in the High Court today over allegations that he issued a "bizarre and absurd edict" to guests at his annual charity ball ordering them not to approach him during the event.

At a hearing in London, a judge was told that the proceedings related to articles published by the Daily Mail last June.

The star's solicitor-advocate Nigel Tait told Mr Justice Eady: "The articles falsely alleged that Sir Elton had issued a bizarre and absurd edict to guests invited to his annual charity fundraising White Tie and Tiara summer ball ordering them not to approach him during that event, thereby acting like old-fashioned royalty or some tinpot dictator and exhibiting self-important, arrogant and rude behaviour bordering on paranoia.

"In fact, not only was no such edict issued at all, Sir Elton greets each guest as they arrive and is well-known for chatting to as many people as possible who attend the ball, not least to thank them for helping him with his fundraising efforts."

Mr Tait said that following a complaint from Sir Elton's lawyers, the Daily Mail promptly published an apology to him "and has at no stage in these proceedings sought to justify the allegations".

Sir Elton is donating the damages to the Elton John Aids Foundations, which have raised 100 million US dollars for charitable purposes throughout the world.

Mr Tait told the judge that on June 24 last year the Daily Mail published articles under the heading "Senora Spice Goes Flamenco" and "Speak only when you're spoken to, Sir Elton tells his party guests".

He said the articles were also published by the defendant - Associated Newspapers Ltd, publisher of the Daily Mail - on its websites and syndicated worldwide.

Mr Tait added: "The articles were also published widely on the internet from the UK and other jurisdictions."

He told Mr Justice Eady: "The White Tie and Tiara ball has raised at least £3 million each year for the Elton John Aids Foundations.

"The story therefore caused Sir Elton considerable embarrassment and distress, particularly because it was false and he feared it would damage the fundraising efforts of the Foundations."

He said the defendant had agreed to pay "substantial" damages: "The newspaper has also contractually undertaken not to repeat the allegations and has also agreed to pay Sir Elton's legal costs."

Matt McKenzie, solicitor for Associated Newspapers, told the judge: "The defendant apologises to Sir Elton for the distress it has caused him and for having published these allegations."