Daily Mail apologises, pays damages to JK Rowling

  • PTI, London
  • |
  • Updated: May 07, 2014 22:44 IST

The Daily Mail, a British tabloid on Wednesday publicly apologised to "Harry Potter" author JK Rowling and paid "substantial damages" over an article it published last year about her time as a single mother.

Rowling sued the newspaper for libel in January over the piece which suggested she had told a false "sob story" about being stigmatised by churchgoers.

The Daily Mail, which printed an apology, said it accepted the author had not made any false claims and apologised for the suggestion.

It added Rowling was donating the unspecified damages to charity.

According to documents filed at the High Court, the Harry Potter writer said she believed the newspaper's story - published on 27 September 2013 - was "premised on a false picture" of an article she had written 10 days previously on the website for the single parents' charity, Gingerbread.

Rowling said she had not accused fellow churchgoers of "stigmatising" or "cruelly taunting her", but had referred to "a single occasion involving a woman who had visited the church one day while she was working there".

The 48-year-old writer said the Daily Mail had been "misleading" and "unfair" in its story and had injured her reputation and caused her great distress and embarrassment.

The newspaper's apology, printed on page two, said: "Our September 28, 2013 article 'How JK's sob story about her single mother past surprised and confused the church members who cared for her' suggested that JK Rowling made a knowingly false and inexcusable claim in an article for the Gingerbread charity that people at her church had stigmatised her and cruelly taunted her for being a single mother.

"In fact Mrs Rowling recounted only one incident where a visitor to the church stigmatised and taunted her on a particular day. We accept that Ms Rowling's article did not contain any false claims and apologise for any contrary suggestion and have agreed to pay substantial damages to Ms Rowling, which she is donating to charity, and a contribution to her legal costs."

The newspaper admitted liability in January, agreeing to apologise and pay damages. However it disputed details of the settlement, which involved Rowling making a court statement about the case, the BBC reported.

Last month a High Court judge ruled the author could make the statement, saying there was "no sufficient reason" for the Daily Mail's publishers, Associated Newspapers, to refuse permission to read it.

A date has yet to be set for when Rowling to make the statement in court, the report said.


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