The Sun won their four-month long legal battle to report on Elton John’s sexual harassment case settlement. I guess that’s why they call it the news…
Press regulator IPSO has written to editors today with a warning on behalf of David Furnish:
STRICTLY PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL; NOT FOR PUBLICATION
The Independent Press Standards Organisation has today been contacted by representatives of David Furnish.
Mr Furnish says he is concerned by the conduct of photographers outside his home. He has asked IPSO to pass on his request that photographers desist from attempts to follow, pursue or photograph him.
We are happy to pass on his request, and note the terms of Clause 2 (Privacy), Clause 3 (Harassment) and Clause 6 (Children) of the Editors’ Code of Practice.
The Supreme Court will hear argument as to whether permission to appeal should be granted, and, if it is granted, as to whether the appeal should be allowed or dismissed. The interim injunction granted by the Court of Appeal will remain in place until the conclusion of the Supreme Court hearing, and at the end of the hearing the Supreme Court will decide whether to continue that injunction. Until then…
In his judgement Lord Justice Jackson effectively ruled that injunctions cannot remain in place once knowledge of the injucted information is widespread:
“The court should not make orders which are ineffective. It is inappropriate – some may used a stronger term – for the court to ban people from saying that which is common knowledge… Knowledge of the relevant matters is now so widespread that confidentiality has probably been lost”
Google search trends show that searches for “David Furnish” in the UK have increased to a trend score of 100 in the last few days, the maximum possible score relative to previous searches for his name:
Searches for “Daniel Laurence”, the man who claims he had an olive oil paddling pool threesome with Furnish, have also increased to a score of 100:
This data shows just those who already knew to search those specific names. Several times as many people will have discovered the identities simply by searching “celebrity injunction”:
Carter Ruck’s attempts to threaten Google into taking down search results revealing the identities failed completely. As Lord Justice Jackson says, knowledge has become widespread…
The injunction has been lifted but the names can not yet be published pending appeal. The gagging order remains in place until Wednesday 1pm…
UPDATE: The judge adds:
“The court should not make orders which are ineffective. It is inappropriate for the court to ban people from saying that which is common knowledge. Knowledge of the relevant matters is now so widespread that confidentiality has probably been lost.”
Read Lord Justice Jackson on the futility of injunctions here.
The decision on whether the celebrity threesome injunction is to be lifted will be announced at 12:30pm. This morning YouGov found 55% of the 2,000 plus polled now know the identities of those involved. Not to mention anyone and everyone in the US, Canada, Scotland, Sweden and China. The gagging order has been rendered meaningless…
Yesterday Guido gave an interview* to the Irish Times about the Celebrity Threesome Injunction. Lawyers Carter Ruck claim this article and others, despite being typed and uploaded in Ireland to be hosted on servers in the United States protected by the First Amendment, breaches their injunction covering England and Wales.
The injunction is incredibly restrictive; it not only prohibits reporting the facts of the matter, it prohibits linking to the story, identifying the National Enquirer or this site in any way. Which is why the British press is referring to a mystery “top blogger” and Google has been forced to remove links to our articles. The Irish Times however identifies the “top blogger”, names this website and even handily gives the headline to cut and paste into Google to easily find the censored article. Not really a legal issue for a foreign printed publication.
However as the photo above shows, the international edition of the Irish Times was freely available in London. It is printed at the Newsfax plant in Hackney…
*The article is no longer on the Irish Times website, it has been copied from the Google cache and is reproduced in full in the comments below.
Guido noticed an overnight drop in traffic to this website. Google search results were not sending as many referrals as we have been seeing recently. It appears Carter-Ruck have threatened Google for being in breach of the ridiculous injunction obtained by Elton’s husband David Furnish in relation to the so-called “celebrity threesome” case. Not entirely unexpected. Still not going to work, though Guido reserves the right to counter-sue for loss of earnings…
Tomorrow, behind a closed door – so much for open justice – an appeal hearing is set to be held where The Sun will ask judges to deliberate whether to free the media to report the case or continue to censor their identities. David Furnish and Elton John argue that they want to spare their children embarrassment. Should have thought of that before stripping down and lashing on the olive oil in the kiddie pool…
Around the world more and more publications are covering the story. Carter-Ruck are collecting more fees. More people are hearing about the triple trysts, even the broadsheets are delicately covering a story they would otherwise have ignored – the Streisand Effect is in operation globally. Guido wonders if Elton should consider doing a duet with Barbara?
All around the world the olive oil trysts of Elton John’s husband David Furnish are being reported, everywhere, apart from England and Wales where they are injuncted. Guido’s servers are in the United States of America, this article is being typed in the Republic of Ireland. London solicitors Carter Ruck have sent a copy of that injunction to Guido threatening to jail the editor for Contempt of Court. This was met with a polite invitation to come visit:
I note this is a Court Order from a British court.
In Ireland, as I explained to Lord Justice Leveson at his inquiry, Irish citizens do not have to pay any notice to what British judges order any more.
We are currently celebrating the 1916 uprising, come visit Dublin. If you do, please do not repeat the ex parte trick your firm pulled in 2008 on behalf of Zac Goldsmith. Remember how that ended in an embarrassing fiasco for your firm? You had to apologise to me and an Irish High Court judge.
This time I expect full and properly served notice to be given of any action you propose to take going forward.
Some fool lawyer in The Times this morning claims that this blog is published everywhere in the world where it can be read. So presumably she thinks the North Koreans, Chinese and Iranians have legal jurisdiction over this website – as if Kim El John can suppress foreign press reports. There are no physical assets in the UK, there is no digital equivalent of a printing press, no device that can be seized or smashed. All the authorities can do is block access to the server, in the same way that China and Iran block access to the truth. Web users point their browsers at a server in the US and fetch the data back, we do not store published content in the UK.
Carter-Ruck have now instructed Johnsons, a Dublin law firm, and are threatening proceedings here in Ireland, which if they were to happen we would endeavour to fight. Courts in both California and New York have ruled that foreign court judgments involving free speech can be enforced in the United States only if the foreign nation recognises absolute free speech values compatible with the First Amendment – which guarantees that Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press. Guido may have to travel to the US to inspect this website’s servers…
See also: Lawyers Only People Enjoying Threesome
The front page headline of the new National Enquirer, now on newsstands in the States, declares: “Elton John Betrayed by Cheating Husband!” Over 3 pages the US tabloid reports how lawyers for Elton John claim David Furnish did not have an affair because the singer knew about his extra-marital relationship. Elton has used an injunction to block publication of the exposé in Britain essentially on the basis that he does not want his children to see it. Understandable, however should it be his legal right?
Here is a summary of the story:
The Enquirer reports that British businessman Daniel Laurence claims he had three encounters with Furnish, including one that involved “risky sex”. Elton’s lawyers deny Furnish had unprotected sex with Laurence. The unprotected sex allegation is particularly damaging because Furnish helps run Elton’s AIDS Foundation. According to the Enquirer, Furnish and Laurence began exchanging messages online in 2008 and hooked up in March 2009 at the Mayfair Hotel in London. Furnish “wanted me to penetrate him and was very demanding and specific about this,” Laurence said in an affidavit obtained by the tabloid: “We did have unprotected sex.”
The two men continued to communicate online — and saw each other again at an event in Palm Springs — but did not have sex again until April 2010. Laurence alleges the tryst took place in the London home Furnish shares with Elton John. The Enquirer published a Facebook chat it claims is between Furnish and Laurence. In it, Furnish asks Laurence about having a threesome. “I am getting hard thinking about it,” Furnish allegedly wrote, “I have to be sooooooo careful.” The threesome, which allegedly took place at the home of Laurence in December 2011, involved wrestling in a pool of olive oil. Laurence also alleged that Furnish was “into being tied up and dominated.” The Enquirer article comes only days after news that Elton John is facing a sexual harassment lawsuit from a former bodyguard. Jeffrey Wenninger alleges the singer groped him and encouraged him to show his penis.
Yesterday the Sunday Mail in Scotland published the story because it is (like Guido) outside the jurisdiction of the injunction. Our readers are not that interested in threesomes involving middle-aged gay men – unless they are in politics. Nevertheless there is an important principle at stake: should press freedom be curtailed by the rich on the grounds that they don’t want their children to be embarrassed? Guido has lots of online embarrassments soon to be discovered on the internet by his Google-savvy young children. As much as he would prefer to cover it all up, this protection would be a risky curtailment of press freedom. If Elton and David don’t want their children to think less of them, don’t do it. The whole thing is made even more ridiculous given millions of Americans and thousands of Scots have read the story. All the injunction is doing is making lawyers richer.
This case is not a serious criminal matter, however there is no doubt that the likes of Dominic Strauss-Kahn have used privacy laws to cover-up much more serious wrongdoing. Fear of public exposure is about the only way we can restrain wrongdoing by the rich and the powerful…
“He packed my bags last night, pre-flight,” David Furnish might have said of Elton John before the happy couple flew off on holiday to Venice this week. Oh the press still hounded them, all the papers had to say was: “the musician flashed a big smile… David looked equally as cheery”. The Mail continued: “Elton showed no signs of worry” as David looked “the picture of happiness” on his trip abroad. He’s not the man they think he is at home, oh no…