In November we saw the latest quarrel that was between Morrissey and NME, something that was not new to the performer. A month later in December, Morrissey penned a scathing missive in response to the accusations made by the British publication. It didn't end there though. This morning in the Royal Courts of Justice, a statement in Open Court was read before Mr. Justice Eady regarding the article, which appeared in the March 2008 edition of Word Magazine (by David Quantick). In the closing paragraph's of Quantick's piece, it contained statements regarding Morrissey that were eerily similar to those made by NME late last year, which is the subject of ongoing libel proceedings.
The full text of today's statement in Open Court is as follows:
"John Reid, Solicitor for the Claimant:
My Lord, in this libel action I represent the Claimant, the singer and musician, Steven Patrick Morrissey, professionally known as Morrissey.
My Friend, Caroline Kean, represents the Defendants, Development Hell and Mark Ellen.
The background to this claim is that the March 2008 edition of Word Magazine included an article by David Quantick concerning the Claimant, Mr Morrissey.
It has been drawn to the Defendants' attention that 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 relation 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.
The Defendants wish to take this opportunity to apologise to Mr Morrissey for any offence or distress that he may have been caused by the closing paragraphs of the article and are happy to make the position clear."
Caroline Kean, Solicitor for the Defendants:
"My Lord, on behalf of the Defendants, I confirm everything my Friend, the Claimant's solicitor, has said.
The Defendants offer their sincere apologies to the Claimant. They hope that by making this Statement, the matter will be clarified once and for all and the record will have been set straight."
John Reid, Solicitor for the Claimant:
"In the circumstances, My Lord, it only remains for me to ask that the record be withdrawn."
"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 to label me as a racist in order 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."
John Reid of Russells Solicitors, representing Morrissey in his claim against the NME, commented:
"My client is utterly determined to repair the damage done to his reputation following the statements made by the NME in December 2007 and more recently Word Magazine. The Word Magazine article would not have been published without the NME's original article so whilst Morrissey is pleased that the record has been set straight, he remains absolutely committed to pursuing his current action against the NME and its editor. Ultimately, my client would rather spend his time in concert than in Court. Regrettably, he has had no choice but to institute both sets of proceedings in order to clear his name."