Elton John World News: All The Nasties

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Elton is Taking UK Periodical to Court

Friday 26 September 2008 @ 16:06 - GMT

Elton is demanding damages of £150,000 from the Guardian for a "gratuitously offensive, nasty and snide" piece penned by columnist Marina Hyde.

He accuses Hyde of using a gratuitously offensive, nasty and snide tone with sneering allusions to his racist and uncaring attitudes.

Hydes piece in Guardian Weekend meant that his commitment to the Elton John AIDS Foundation is so insincere that he hosts the annual White Tie and Tiara Ball knowing that once costs have been covered, only a small amount is available for good causes, he says.

Her piece also meant that he uses the ball to meet celebrities and for self promotion rather than raising money for his charity and the good causes it supports, according to a High Court writ.

Elton counters that in fact his ball raised at least £10m for charity this year and that he is deeply committed to fundraising for charity. Marina's false allegations are particularly damaging to his reputation and are likely to discourage people from attending his charity events, the writ claims.

Elton's solicitors wrote to the Guardians editor on July 7, asking for the piece to be removed from the papers Web site and for the papers legal department to hold onto her cuttings, notes, notebooks and drafts. The periodical declined to assure him it would preserve the documents to be obstructive, he says.

Elton argues that his complaint was dismissed in a high-handed and arrogant manner and claims that the Guardian failed to answer questions from his solicitors, to leave the paper with as much room for future manoeuvring as possible, and to place as much doubt in his mind as possible, in the hope of dissuading him from bringing proceedings.

Although the Guardian took down the piece temporarily, it was reinstated on the 15th of July on the site, despite his plans to sue for libel, the writ says.

Elton is seeking damages and aggravated damages for libel, and an injunction banning repetition of the allegations at the centre of his claim.

The Guardian declined to comment on the ongoing litigation.

Readers may recall that in May 2006, the Daily Mail agreed to pay Elton £100,000 in libel damages over false claims that he had issued an edict to guests invited to his White Tie and Tiara event, telling them not to speak to him unless he approached them 

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