Katie Hopkins forced to tweet apology over false claim day after she leaves Mail Online 'by mutual consent'

The controversial columnist was legally obliged to share the statement as it was 'a term of the (legal) settlement', lawyer tells The Independent 

Maya Oppenheim
Tuesday 28 November 2017 19:24
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The Mail Online was forced to apologise and pay 'substantial damages' to the teacher libelled in Hopkins’ column
The Mail Online was forced to apologise and pay 'substantial damages' to the teacher libelled in Hopkins’ column

Katie Hopkins has been forced to share an apology to a school teacher who she libelled in one of her articles.

It came day after it was announced that the controversial columnist's contract with the Mail Online “was not renewed by mutual consent”.

The news website was forced to apologise and pay “substantial damages” to Jackie Teale, the teacher libelled in Hopkins’ column.

Hopkins erroneously stated in February that Ms Teale had taken her class to protest against US President Donald Trump outside Westminster. She had in fact, only taken a banner made by some of her 12-year-old pupils, which included a Martin Luther King quote.

It was published under the headline: “Schools are supposed to teach kids HOW to think for themselves, not WHAT to think. So why are so many liberal teachers bullying and brain-washing children with their own intolerant views?”

Hopkins shared a link to the Mail Online’s apology to Ms Teale on Twitter.

It admitted that the statement about the pupils attending the demonstration "was wrong", adding: "We apologise to Ms Teale for this error and have agreed to pay Ms Teale substantial damages and legal costs."

Mark Lewis, the lawyer who represented Ms Teale, told The Independent that Hopkins was legally obliged to share the apology as it was “a term of the settlement”.

Praising Mr Lewis for his help, Ms Teale tweeted: “Just want to say I’m immensely grateful that for every Katie Hopkins plaguing society with lies and hatred, there’s a Mark Lewis to ensure that truth prevails. Cannot thank him enough for this."

In an earlier article for The Guardian, Ms Teale wrote that Hopkins’ column had left her vulnerable to “personal attacks” online.

People had called for her to resign and accused her of “indoctrinating” pupils, she added.

"'Someone’, they said, would be in contact with me about this,” she wrote. “They began circulating links to the Department for Education (DfE) and encouraged each other to register complaints with them to inform them of my ‘illegal’ activities.”

Hopkins column was axed after a series of complaints over her remarks on terror attacks and other controversies.

The Devon-born provocateur previously wrote for The Sun as what the paper hailed as “Britain’s most controversial columnist”.

There, she penned a piece which compared African migrants crossing the Mediterranean with “cockroaches” and called for gunboats to stop migrants reaching their destination. The United Nations said the column shared parallels with pro-genocide propaganda.

Hopkins moved on to the Mail Online shortly afterwards.

Earlier this year, she also agreed to leave her job as a host on LBC radio, after she tweeted a call for a final solution” to Islamist terrorism in the wake of the Manchester arena attack.

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