View all newsletters
Sign up for our free email newsletters

Fighting for quality news media in the digital age.

Sun issues apology to Sky’s Kirsty Gallacher after her £100k libel claim for ‘Thirsty Kirsty TV Collapse’ story

By Freddy Mayhew

The Sun has issued an apology to Sky Sports News presenter Kirsty Gallacher after it ran a story claiming she may have been drunk on air shortly before collapsing and being taken to hospital.

The story, headlined: “Thirsty Kirsty TV Collapse” was published online on 22 December, 2016.

It appeared in print the next day with the sub-headline: “THAT’S A SLUR: It’s exhaustion & a virus not booze, says telly girl”.

The article claimed fans had accused the presenter, 40, of slurring her words on TV and pointed out she had been on out with friends the night before, which she posted about on Twitter.

It said Gallacher had collapsed in a corridor at Sky’s studio during an advert break after 18 minutes of an hour-long presenting “stint” and had to be taken to hospital.

Sources close to Gallacher were quoted as saying she was “suffering from exhaustion and a virus” and “doesn’t remember being in the ambulance”.

Lawyers representing Gallacher filed a High Court claim for libel damages up to £100,000, breach of privacy and breach of the Data Protection Act on the day after the story appeared in print, Press Gazette revealed last month.

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

They argued the article wrongly gave the impression that Gallacher was drunk on air, or that she lied in saying that she slurred her words because she was unwell.

They said the article had caused “serious harm” to Gallacher’s reputation, telling the court she had been “subjected to enormous online goading and ridicule” through reader comments and tweets as a result of the article.

They added: “In addition to having a reputation for being a professional at work, the claimant also has a reputation as being a fit and health conscious individual (which she is) and, in the circumstances, the publication of the article seriously harmed and damaged her reputation and is likely to continue to cause serious harm to it in future.”

Solicitors also claimed The Sun had breached Gallacher’s privacy by publishing information about her health.

Today, the Sun issued an apology to Gallacher.

It read: “Our 23 December 2016 article ‘Thirsty Kirsty TV Collapse’ may have been understood to suggest that Kirsty Gallacher did not collapse at work due to viral exhaustion but because she was in fact inebriated.

“We did not intend to suggest this and are happy to confirm that it was not the cause. We apologise to Ms Gallacher for any distress and embarrassment caused.”

Press Gazette understands that the legal action has now been settled.

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