By Roger Pearson
Sir Elton John has accepted undisclosed libel damages from the Sunday Times today in respect of its publication of a rumour that he had acted "in a self-important, arrogant and rude manner" at his AIDS Foundation’s summer ball.
At a brief hearing at London’s High Court, the singer’s solicitor, Hanna Basha, told one of the country’s top libel judges, Mr David Justice Eady, that Sir Elton had sued over a 26 June 2005 article headlined ‘Rock royals get too grand’.
The article which it had alleged that he had issued a "bizarre and absurd edict to guests at his annual charity fundraising White Tie and Tiara summer ball not to address him unless spoken to".
Basha said: "The story caused Sir Elton considerable embarrassment and distress, particularly because he feared it would be damaging to his fundraising efforts."
She said that Times Newspapers Ltd now accepted that the allegation is untrue and should not have been made. It has agreed to publish an apology, and pay damages to Sir Elton, which he will donate to his AIDS Foundation. The publishers will also pay his legal costs.
Times Newspaper’s solicitor, Alastair Brett, added: "As soon as the defendant found out the story was untrue – it had been picked up from another newspaper – it immediately apologised to Sir Elton and it is happy to repeat that apology here today."