Melania Trump Gets Full Apology From Daily Telegraph
Melania Trump Gets Full Apology From Daily Telegraph
First Lady Melania Trump has scored a legal victory over the British news outlet, The Daily Telegraph, over a very ugly, error-ridden piece that they published about her.
That victory includes a printed apology, and monetary compensation.
Following last Saturday’s (Jan 19) Telegraph magazine cover story “The mystery of Melania”, we have been asked to make clear that the article contained a number of false statements which we accept should not have been published. Mrs Trump’s father was not a fearsome presence and did not control the family. Mrs Trump did not leave her Design and Architecture course at University relating to the completion of an exam, as alleged in the article, but rather because she wanted to pursue a successful career as a professional model. Mrs Trump was not struggling in her modelling career before she met Mr Trump, and she did not advance in her career due to the assistance of Mr Trump.
We accept that Mrs Trump was a successful professional model in her own right before she met her husband and obtained her own modelling work without his assistance. Mrs Trump met Mr Trump in 1998, not in 1996 as stated in the article. The article also wrongly claimed that Mrs Trump’s mother, father and sister relocated to New York in 2005 to live in buildings owned by Mr Trump. They did not. The claim that Mrs Trump cried on election night is also false.
We apologise unreservedly to The First Lady and her family for any embarrassment caused by our publication of these allegations. As a mark of our regret we have agreed to pay Mrs Trump substantial damages as well as her legal costs.
The article in question has since been memory-holed by the Daily Telegraph, but the internet is forever.
YUP THIS IS IT
the internet IS forever. pic.twitter.com/4Avjzg8wVj
— Shem Horne (@Shem_Infinite) January 26, 2019
And other outlets still have copies.
No one should be surprised that the author of this said trash is one Nina Burleigh, who famously once offered to give Bill Clinton oral sex for keeping abortion legal. She has a new book, titled “Golden Handcuffs,” purporting to be an exposé of the Trump women. And it was this book that was extensively quoted in the Daily Telegraph article.
And now the Telegraph is paying out not-cheap legal fees for what Nina Burleigh wrote.
The article in question has been removed from the Daily Telegraph website, but is available on a number of other websites. In it, Burleigh even gets the date that Trump met his third wife wrong, writing that they met in 1996 when he was still married to Marla Maples.
“Mrs Trump met Mr Trump in 1998, not in 1996 as stated in the article,” according to the paper’s apology. “The article also wrongly claimed that Mrs Trump’s mother, father and sister relocated to New York in 2005 to live in buildings owned by Mr Trump. They did not. The claim that Mrs Trump cried on election night is also false.”
When reached for comment by The Daily Beast, Burleigh noted, “I know everyone is terrified of Gawker slayer Charles Harder. The book has been out since October, and excerpted widely in various U.S. publications without a peep of objection. I stand by my reporting.”
Excerpts by Burleigh, who is the author of six books, have not endured the same scrutiny in the United States and elsewhere but the U.K.’s strict libel laws define defamation as “the publication of a statement which tends to lower a person in the estimation of right-thinking members of society generally.”
It is not clear whether Burleigh will have to pay any of the undisclosed damages in the Daily Telegraph’s settlement.
If I was on the Daily Telegraph’s legal team, you can bet that a phone call would be going in to Simon & Schuster, Burleigh’s publisher, to say “WHAT THE HELL, OLD CHAP” or something like that.
And this was not the first time that the First Lady has gotten corrections and damages from the foreign press.
In the U.K. and a number of European countries, libel can also be a criminal act, which is why publications tend to settle rather than face their accusers in court. In 2017, Ms. Trump also won a libel claim against the British tabloid Daily Mail, which issued its own apology as part of the undisclosed settlement.
In its apology, the Daily Mail wrote that they “published an article on 20th August 2016 about Melania Trump which questioned the nature of her work as a professional model, and republished allegations that she provided services beyond simply modelling.” They also admitted to paying out a settlement.
Yes, it is much easier for a famous, public person to win a libel suit in the United Kingdom. But I can’t imagine that Simon & Schuster or Henry Holt and Co. (the publishers of Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury, which contains many of the same libelous allegations against the First Lady that Nina Burleigh repeated) are exactly thrilled with Melania Trump getting legal wins in British court over what they have printed.
And don’t think the First Lady’s team isn’t watching.
.@FLOTUS often refers to opportunists out to advance themselves by disparaging her name&image. Mrs.Trump will not let people&media outlets make up lies&false assertions in a race for ratings or to sell tabloid headlines. Cc @NinaBurleigh / Simon&Schusterhttps://t.co/bVOnyZpk7w
— Stephanie Grisham (@StephGrisham45) January 26, 2019
In the United States, a public figure must prove actual malice, not just errors that cause damage, in order to win a libel suit. Melania Trump has often been a target for those who loathe the president, and while she has shaken off what some have said, it’s clear with this win that the First Lady is kicking butt (legally) and taking names. Nina Burleigh might just be the next name on Melania Trump’s list.
Featured image: First Lady Melania Trump (October 3, 2018, official White House photo by Andrea Hanks, public domain)