Is Robbie Facing £300k Writ?

The most intriguing thing about stories of Robbie Williams being threatened by a £300k writ from his former Take That manager Nigel Martin-Smith is finding out if it’s true.

According to The Sun and a couple of newswires that have picked up on the piece, Martin-Smith has High Court writs to serve on Williams (and EMI’s Chrysalis Records) seeking damages of £300,000 if a track called “The Nineties” is released in its current form.

If it’s true, the writs would need to be acknowledged by both parties before the court publishes their contents. Procedural judges would then either strike out the action or rule that the court cases should go ahead and decide on how they should proceed and what sort of evidence must be produced.

The news stories say Martin-Smith believes the lyrics to the song, which is due to appear on Williams’ new Rudebox album, are untrue and defamatory to him.

If it’s true, Williams and EMI can take the same line as former Sunday Pictorial editor Hugh Cudlipp and “publish and be damned,” change the lyrics or even pull the track from an album that’s already cost hundreds of thousands to produce and market.

At press time, neither David Enthoven (on tour) nor David Clark (in a meeting) from ie Music – Williams’ management company – could be contacted to verify or deny the stories.

Sam Chalker from EMI’s International press office wasn’t returning calls on the subject, while Justin Jeffreys from Williams’ publicists at Taylor-Herring was happy to talk but didn’t know or wouldn’t say if the stories are true.

Whatever the song says, The Sun‘s selling it as dramatic stuff as reporter Victoria Newton – who had the story on her Bizarre pop gossip page – said she couldn’t repeat “the offending lyrics” for “legal reasons.”

The Rudebox album is due for release October 23rd.

– John Gammon