Sir Elton Instructs His Lawyers

Elton John is taking legal action against two prominent U.K. newspapers because of articles they published about his alleged behaviour at his recent “White Tie and Tiara” AIDS Foundation Ball.

The proceedings relate to pieces in The Daily Mail June 24th and The Sunday Times a couple of days later.

News of the (presumably) impending writ to The Mail (for an “entirely false allegation”) came in a June 27th press release from Gary Farrow’s The Corporation, which also said further action would be taken against The Times for “repeating the ludicrous story.”

It also adds that legal action will be taken in respect of any other publication of the falsehood, which reads like a wholly unnecessary warning that anyone reporting these events runs the risk of repeating a libel – although Farrow says the press release was to keep journalists “in the loop.”

Both papers reported the flamboyant knight of the realm was said to have ordered guests at the ball not to address him unless spoken to. If that’s true, then it could easily be argued that it was “in the public interest” for newspapers to run with the story. If it’s not true, then it becomes an entirely different matter.

His lawyers would argue that it’s damaging to their client and the charity he so generously sponsors. His charitable donations during the course of 2004 have been reported as being as high as £24 million (US$43.3 million).

According to BBC News, The Sunday Times said it is dealing with the complaint and is expected to publish a correction in the next edition of the newspaper. The newswire also reported a spokesman for the 58-year-old chart topper as saying The Daily Mail had contacted him about the claims and had been told that they were “categorically untrue.”

Due to take part in the Live 8 concerts July 2nd, Sir Elton was paid an estimated £1 million pounds in libel damages by The Sun in 1987. He also got a front-page apology.

– John Gammon