The Sun on Sunday has won a four month battle against Elton John after being forbidden from publishing information about the music star’s secretive out-of-court settlement with a former employee in a sexual harassment case.
The newspaper reported that Sir Elton gagged a report that he settled, in a six figure sum, with a former male employee in response to sexual harassment claims.
In December 2015, news of the payment was blocked by Elton who looked to have the case held in private before eventually settling with the suitor when the request was denied. Earlier this week the London employment tribunal ruled that the existence of the case could indeed be published by the media.
A Sun on Sunday spokesman said: “This case raised a fundamental issue of a free press being able to report legal cases against celebrities with deep pockets and armies of expensive lawyers who want to keep even the fact of such litigation against them from the public.”
“The Sun on Sunday does not suggest the claims, which we accept were denied by Sir Elton and which were subsequently withdrawn, are true. We simply wanted to report the fact the case had been settled.”
It concluded: “The Sun on Sunday refused to be cowed and are delighted the courts have backed our right to free speech and our readers’ right to know. Celebrities need to know we will fight for the right to report cases lodged at courts and tribunals.”
John's legal representatives told The Drum: "These employment proceedings were fully withdrawn by the ex-employee who left the employment of Sir Elton John’s company in June 2015. The claims were always strongly denied and we continue to deny them. Sir Elton John is pleased that the former employee withdrew the claims in full and that the issue was settled in February this year."