25th April 2024

Sorry, not sorry… The sorry saga of the Laurence Fox libel litigation

By Ellen Gallagher

Laurence Fox, actor and activist, has been ordered to pay a total of £180,000 in damages to former Stonewall trustee, Simon Blake, and drag artist Crystal, Colin Seymour. Mr Fox lost a High Court libel case following an exchange on X, (formerly Twitter), in which he defamed Mr Blake and Mr Seymour.

The Judge has also injuncted Mr Fox, preventing him “on pain of being found guilty of contempt of court” from repeating the “gross, groundless and indefensible” libels of Mr Blake and Mr Seymour. Read the judgment here.

Mrs Justice Collins Rice noted Mr Fox’s comments outside of court were at odds with his “less than ‘generous spirited’” apology in the witness box, stating he continued to “attach blame and discredit to the Claimants and hold them and their conduct of this litigation responsible for a range of his own life’s adversities”.

The Judge also confirmed that she is not restraining Mr Fox’s exercise of free speech; she is only preventing him from repeating the libels.

The judgment contains a blistering attack on Mr Fox’s conduct throughout the litigation; conversely the Judge thoroughly vindicates Mr Blake and Mr Seymour, stating “Mr Fox subjected them to a wholly undeserved public ordeal”.

In addition to paying damages, in the ordinary course of events Mr Fox will be ordered to pay the claimants’ costs, which will likely be very substantial indeed.

The judgment is a reminder that the conduct of the parties to litigation, both inside and outside of court, may be scrutinised, with potentially serious consequences.

Hamlins’ Media Disputes department is one of the most successful Media Disputes teams in the UK and is widely recognised as an advisor of choice for both public and private figures seeking advice in relation to defamation, reputation management, pre-publication libel and privacy law.

If you are concerned you have suffered reputational damage as a result of a defamatory social media post, and would like to find out more about how Hamlins can help you, please get in touch.

Sorry, not sorry… The sorry saga of the Laurence Fox libel litigation

Have a question? Contact Ellen

Have a question? Contact Ellen


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