View all newsletters
Sign up for our free email newsletters

Fighting for quality news media in the digital age.

  1. Media Law
December 7, 2015

One Direction star Niall Horan sues Daily Star over drugs story

By William Turvill and Press Association

One Direction's Niall Horan is suing the Daily Star over a story reporting on a "new drug storm".

The boyband star (pictured, Reuters) has won a round in his libel case against Express Newspapers. 

A judge has agreed with Horan's claim that the July article was capable of bearing defamatory meaning.

Horan said the story meant he used hard drugs, crystal meth or crack, during an evening with fellow musicians Justin Bieber and Cody Simpson.

The newspaper said the articles did not bear the meaning alleged or any meaning defamatory of Horan. It asked Mr Justice Dingemans at London's High Court to stop the action in its tracks.

But today, the judge dismissed the application, saying that the article was capable of bearing the defamatory meaning claimed.

This was supported by the extensive reference to a Breaking Bad-style drugs pipe in the story – Breaking Bad being a TV series centred around the manufacture and sale of hard drug crystal meth.

Content from our partners
Publishing on the open web is broken, how generative AI could help fix it
Impress: Regulation, arbitration and complaints resolution
Papermule: Workflow automation for publishers

The banner headline was "new drug storm", the article reported that Horan was "staring blankly" and there was express reference to "rumours the singers were using hard drugs", the judge said.

The inclusion of words that "there is no suggestion that this is the case" and reported requests from fans that Horan should not get into drugs – which at least carried the implication that Horan was not then currently into them – were matters to consider when the actual meaning of the article was determined, he added.

Horan was not in court for the ruling.

Last November, Press Gazette revealed Horan's One Direction colleague Harry Styles was suing the Star. This was after it wrongly identified him in an "X-rated" photograph on its front page.

Topics in this article : ,

Email to point out mistakes, provide story tips or send in a letter for publication on our "Letters Page" blog

Select and enter your email address Weekly insight into the big strategic issues affecting the future of the news industry. Essential reading for media leaders every Thursday. Your morning brew of news about the world of news from Press Gazette and elsewhere in the media. Sent at around 10am UK time. Our weekly does of strategic insight about the future of news media aimed at US readers. A fortnightly update from the front-line of news and advertising. Aimed at marketers and those involved in the advertising industry.
  • Business owner/co-owner
  • CEO
  • COO
  • CFO
  • CTO
  • Chairperson
  • Non-Exec Director
  • Other C-Suite
  • Managing Director
  • President/Partner
  • Senior Executive/SVP or Corporate VP or equivalent
  • Director or equivalent
  • Group or Senior Manager
  • Head of Department/Function
  • Manager
  • Non-manager
  • Retired
  • Other
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how New Statesman Media Group may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
Thank you

Thanks for subscribing.

Websites in our network