British tabloid The Daily Mail rarely issues an apology, but on Wednesday, it posted an apology to First Lady Melania Trump directly on its homepage. The Mail agreed to reach a $ 3 million settlement with Mrs. Trump for two libel lawsuits over the false claims that the First Lady had worked as an escort in her youth.
Daily Mail Admits Escort Claims Were Untrue
The Mail conceded in a British court that the stories it published in August 2016 were “untrue” and agreed to withdraw them. The tabloid said it was sorry “for any distress that our publication caused.”
The Mail, which is the English website with the largest traffic in the world (with around 220 million monthly visitors) has relied on sensational click bait to lure in readers. It is also mainly using unfounded rumors and celebrity wardrobe malfunctions to sell its articles. So, one may think, the newspaper reaches libel settlements and issues apologies and retractions on a regular basis.
However, the last time the Mail was in the hot seat was in 2014, when J.K. Rowling sued them over claims that she had written a misleading “sob story” for a single parents charity website.
At the time, the paper agreed to pay damages and acknowledged Rowling’s article did not include falsehoods. Editors also publicly apologized to the best-selling author. A couple of months later, the paper said sorry to George Clooney for telling inaccuracies about the American actor’s fiancée, Amal Alamuddin. Initially, the website stated that they got the info from a “trusted freelance journalist.”
The actor said the story about his now-wife was “completely fabricated.” He forced the Mail to take it down, but never took legal action. The newspaper retracted the article probably because of a looming lawsuit.
Actress Diana Rigg, singer Elton Jonn, and the coach of former British PM Tony Blair have also sued the Daily Mail and won over the last decade. In the U.K., however, it is easier for a plaintiff to win a libel lawsuit than it is in the U.S.
Melania Would Have Had a Harder Time in U.S. Courts
In America, the press is protected by the First Amendment, and a plaintiff needs to prove “actual malice” to win in court. This is why many defamation suits are extremely hard to show in U.S. courts.
And President Trump knows this. On the campaign trail, he said he would reintroduce the U.S. libel rules in the U.S. as there is too much protection under the First Amendment.Bottom of Form “In England, you have a good chance of winning. And deals are made, and apologies are made. Over here they don’t have to apologize,” Trump said in October.
Mrs. Trump wouldn’t have won if she had sued an American newspaper. Law experts maintain that this is the main reasons she sued the Mail in a British court, along with an American one.
It is worth noting that most of the evidence her lawyers brought was from either her home country, Slovenia, or America, so there was little reason for her to file a complaint with a court in London.
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