Morrissey Sues NME For Libel

Morrissey’s lawyers are in the process of issuing libel writs against NME and its editor Conor McNicholas after the weekly music magazine quoted the singer’s views on the current state of the nation.

"The Gates of England are flooded. The country’s been thrown away," Morrissey was quoted as saying on the front cover of the issue dated December 1.

The paper attacks the former Smiths frontman for "naïve hypocrisy" and claims his language "dangerously echoes" the British National Party’s current manifesto.

Morrissey says his words have been taken out of context and it looks as if he and the NME may be heading for the High Court.

It isn’t the first time he’s fallen out with the magazine. Fifteen years ago it accused him of dabbling in racist imagery after he draped himself in a Union Jack at a gig in London’s Finsbury Park.

It led to a communication breakdown that lasted 12 years, although NME still heralded The Smiths as the most influential act ever.

Previously it had supported Morrissey and the band with something approaching idolatry, leading some critics to refer to it as the New Morrissey Express.

The maverick singer/songwriter’s spokesman has said that legal proceedings would be served on the paper and its editor on November 30th.

"We are suing them for defamation. They have not only misquoted Morrissey, they have omitted critical parts of the interview and distorted the tone of the piece, his responses and the questions he was asked in order to try and present an inflammatory case," the spokesman told The Times, which, along with the Guardian, reprinted his alleged comments about immigration.

His advisers are said to be claiming Tim Jonze, the journalist who interviewed Morrissey for the piece, had asked for his name to be left out of the published copy because it bore so little resemblance to his original.

The credits name Jonze as the interviewer but attribute the words to NME.

Under the front-page banner "Big Mouth Strikes Again," the Q&A-format piece reportedly quotes Morrissey, who divides his time between Los Angeles and Rome, saying: "With the issue of immigration, it’s very difficult because, although I don’t have anything against people from other countries, the higher the influx into England, the more the British identity disappears. So the price is enormous."

The music mag hasn’t commented beyond confirming that it’s heard from Morrissey’s legal representatives.