Former Smiths singer Morrissey today accepted a formal apology at London’s High Court from the publishers of Word Magazine, after he sued over an article last month that repeated NME’s suggestion he was a racist hypocrite.
Morrissey, real name Steven Patrick Morrissey, who is also suing the NME over similar allegations in an article last December, claimed that the Word article written by David Quantick ‘echoed’the allegedly defamatory statements made in the earlier NME article.
His solicitor, John Reid, told judge Mr Justice David Eady at London’s High Court today: ‘The closing paragraphs of Mr Quantick’s article could have been construed to suggest that Mr Morrissey was a racist, held racist opinions or that, as the child of migrant parents, he was a hypocrite. The article suggested that Mr Morrissey has in the past paid lip service only to anti-racism.
‘The defendants never intended the article to have the meanings suggested above and wish to make absolutely clear that they disassociate themselves entirely from any such inferences that might be drawn from the article.
‘The defendants accept that it would be absurd to accuse Mr Morrissey of being a racist or of espousing racist views. They equally accept that Mr Morrissey is not a hypocrite, in elation in particular to the views he has expressed in the past in relation to British cultural identity.
‘The defendants accept that Mr Morrissey is well known as a keen supporter of anti-racist groups and the defendants wish to make absolutely clear that they never intended the article to suggest that Mr Morrissey was anything other than a sincere supporter of anti-racism initiatives.”
Caroline Kean, for Islington-based publishers Development Hell, added: ‘The defendants offer their sincere apologies to the claimant.”
Speaking afterwards, Morrissey said: ‘I am obviously delighted with this victory and the clearing of my name in public where it is loud and clear for all to hear. The NME have calculatedly tried to damage my integrity and label me as a racist to boost their diminishing circulation. Word Magazine made the mistake of repeating those allegations, which they now accept are false and, as a result, have apologised in open court. I will now continue to pursue my legal action against the NME and its editor until they do the same.”
In a statement on its website, Word said it had no further comment on the issue.