Monroe, a food writer and poverty campaigner, is suing the controversial Mail Online columnist over a dispute which dates back to 2015. Monroe alleges Hopkins posted tweets which implied Monroe defaced or condoned the damage of a war memorial and this resulted in death threats.
The High Court hearing, which started on Monday, originates from a series of public Twitter messages exchanged between the pair after a war memorial in central London was vandalised with the words “F*ck Tory scum” during an anti-austerity demonstration.
New Statesman contributing editor Laurie Penny shared an image of the graffiti, writing: “I don’t have a problem with this. The bravery of past generations does not oblige us to be cowed today.”
Hopkins, a former Apprentice contestant who has risen to fame for her inflammatory, anti-immigrant views, then sent a tweet to Monroe’s account, saying: “Scrawled on any memorials recently? Vandalised the memory of those who fought for your freedom. Grandma got any more medals?”
The court was informed Hopkins had mistaken Monroe for Penny – both commentators have been outspoken critics of the Tory party’s austerity policies.
Katie Hopkins' most offensive moments
Katie Hopkins' most offensive moments
1/16 Katie Hopkins on 'plus size'
'To call yourself 'plus-size' is just a euphemism for being fat. Life is much easier when you're thinner. Big is not beautiful, of course a job comes down to how you look.'
2/16 Katie Hopkins on naming children
‘I think you can tell a great deal from a name. For me, there are certain names that I hear and I think ‘Urgh’. For me, a name is a shortcut of finding out what class that child comes from and makes me ask, ‘Do I want my children to play with them?’ There’s a whole set of things that go with children like that and that’s why I don’t like those sorts of children. ‘Hi, this is my daughter Charmaine’. I hear: ‘Hi, I am thick and ignorant.’’
3/16 Katie Hopkins on gender equality
'Women don't want equal treatment, they couldn't handle it if they got it. It's a tough world out there. What a lot of women are actually looking for is special treatment. What women need to realise is that they have to toughen up.'
4/16 Katie Hopkins on immigration
'I've always said if you go into a school playground and shout Mohammad, you'll probably get 100 children running towards you!"
5/16 Katie Hopkins to Benefits Street's White Dee
'Do you not feel like the patron saint of druggies and dropouts?'
6/16 Katie Hopkins on tattoos
'Are tattoos just a badge for the stupid? For me, and for lots of people like me, when you see tatoos you think of someone who is just looking for attention, who hasn't managed to find a way in their life through conventional means and who is just shouting 'I want attention! I want to be looked at!'
7/16 Katie Hopkins on addiction
‘I don’t believe what Russell Brand says about addiction. I just don’t buy it. Gazza likes drinking, let him crack on. He is enjoying himself.’
8/16 Katie Hopkins on The X Factor
'The X Factor 2013 has ended in a painful showdown between a fat mum in a jumpsuit (Sam Bailey) and a small boy in whatever his mum laid out for him on his bed (Nicholas McDonald)'
9/16 Katie Hopkins on the Egyptian uprising
'The difference between most mothers and me is that I didn’t sit around drinking coffee at baby group for 12 months after the birth of my baby. No, in three weeks I was back in my suit, back at my desk earning profit for my business and I don’t see why other women shouldn’t do the same.'
10/16 Katie Hopkins on maternity leave
'Egyptian uprising continues to look like Bonfire Night. Protest fireworks. Right up there with angry cup cakes.'
11/16 Katie Hopkins on 'gingerism'
'Ginger babies. Like a baby. Just so much harder to love. A ginger person with tattoos called Jayden? The triumvirate of horror!'
12/16 Katie Hopkins on affairs
'I lied to get someone else's husband because I wanted him. I give myself 8 out of 10 for ruthlessness for that one.'
13/16 Katie Hopkins on the elderly
‘Personally I hate mobility scooters. I find their owners intolerable. Ran past a mobility scooter going up hill. Made me giggle. I need to grow up and stop being an arse.’
14/16 Katie Hopkins after the Glasgow helicopter crash
'Life expectancy in Scotland is 59.5. Goodness me. That lot will do anything to avoid working until retirement.'
15/16 Katie Hopkins on Ramadan
'Channel 4 broadcasts Islamic calls to prayer for Ramadan. A 30 day reminder that minority rules in the UK. Any more PC, it'd be a bloody laptop.'
16/16 Katie Hopkins on self-harming
'I am advised by the Twitterati to 'cut myself'. I grazed myself on my house gate yesterday. Will that suffice?'
Quickly after Hopkins’s original message, Monroe wrote back: “I have NEVER ‘scrawled on a memorial’. Brother in the RAF. Dad was a Para in the Falklands. You’re a piece of sh*t.”
Monroe, who is reportedly seeking £50,000 in damages, later sent a second message demanding Hopkins apologise: “Dear Katie Hopkins, public apology and £5K to migrant rescue and I won’t sue. It’ll be cheaper for you and v satisfying for me.”
Hopkins deleted the first tweet but, said William Bennett, acting for Monroe, told the judge, Mr Justice Warby Hopkins “did not apologise or retract the allegation even though she knew it was false”.
Shortly afterwards, Hopkins said: “Can someone explain to me – in 10 words or less – the difference between irritant @PennyRed and social anthrax @MsJackMonroe.” Monroe’s lawyers claim that this second tweet bore a “defamatory innuendo meaning” that Monroe “approved or condoned the criminal vandalization of the women’s war memorial during an anti-government protest”.
Mr Bennett told the court: "The claimant's primary case is that by reason of the seriousness of the allegations and the scale of publication, serious harm to reputation has been caused.
"A widely published allegation that someone has either vandalised a war memorial or approved of such an act will inevitably cause serious damage to reputation."
Mr Bennett also said: "The libel was a particular affront to her because part of her identity is as a member of a family closely involved with the armed forces".
The blogger told the court that Hopkins’s messages had sparked abuse on Twitter, including death threats.
Jonathan Price, for Hopkins, told the judge in written argument that Hopkin’s case was that "this relatively trivial dispute arose and was resolved on Twitter in a period of several hours".
He argued "no lasting harm and certainly no serious harm", to Monroe's reputation resulted from the saga. Mr Price said the columnist’s case was that "these proceedings are an unnecessary and disproportionate epilogue to the parties' otherwise forgotten Twitter row".
But Monroe, from Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, rejected Price’s suggestion that rather than the row being the worst thing the blogger had experienced on Twitter, it had in fact been the best thing because it had offered an opportunity to bring the proceedings.
Monroe told the court: "These proceedings have been a nightmare. It has been an 18-month, unproductive, devastating nightmare.
"I did not want to be here today. I have offered several times though my lawyer to settle these proceedings outside court. This is the last thing that I wanted to be doing."
Monroe rose to fame for the blog Cooking On A Bootstrap, which receives around 100 thousand unique hits per day. The site, which was previously called A Girl Called Jack, centred on cooking on a budget and the struggle of feeding Monroe’s son for just £10 a week. The blogger identifies as non-binary transgender and goes by singular they pronouns, rather than "he" or "she".
Hopkins left The Sun in 2015 after writing a column that compared migrants to “cockroaches" and "feral humans" and said they were "spreading like the norovirus". She became the victim of a petition calling for her to be sacked.
A representative for Monroe did not immediately respond to request for comment.
Additional reporting from Press AssociationReuse content