07 May 2014
JK Rowling Receives Damages from Daily Mail
Author JK Rowling has been paid an undisclosed amount in damages by the Daily Mail after she objected to claims it made in an article last year.
A piece in the newspaper that was published in September 2013 had suggested the Harry Potter creator had told a "sob story" about her experiences as a single mother that was not true. Specifically, Rowling was said to have falsely claimed in an exclusive article for the single parents' charity Gingerbread that she had been stigmatised by members of her church due to her marital status.
The author objected to the Daily Mail's article on the grounds that she had only recounted a single occasion on which she was stigmatised by a churchgoer, rather than suggested this was widespread. Rowling insisted that she had not complained about how she was treated by fellow churchgoers, nor accused them of acting towards her in a cruel, bigoted and unchristian manner.
She therefore argued that the Daily Mail's article was unfair, misleading and harmful to her reputation.
Rowling decided to sue for libel, with Court documents stating that the central premise of the article had "no basis in fact", which meant it went against the "basic standards of fair and responsible journalism".
The Daily Mail has now accepted that the article, which was removed from its website after the writer made her complaint, was not correct.
In addition, the publication has issued an apology to the writer regarding the claims that were made in the original article.
"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 stated.
By Francesca Witney